Title:
Non-spill container spout with peel type seal
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The invention is a device and a method for remotely peeling off a peelable seal, using only one or two pieces of flexible material, allowing the container to be placed in the pouring position, and the delivery orifice to be inserted into a receiving port, all the while sealed; then once in the receiving port, to be unsealed, so as not to spill any fluid outside the receiving port.



Inventors:
Unsworth, John Duncan (Flamborough, CA)
Application Number:
10/446147
Publication Date:
12/02/2004
Filing Date:
05/28/2003
Assignee:
UNSWORTH JOHN DUNCAN
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
215/349, 215/232
International Classes:
B65D51/18; (IPC1-7): B65D53/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20060102585Bottle pocketMay, 2006Richardson
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20070000859Progessively collapsible, disposable containerJanuary, 2007Pedulla et al.
20080173610BEVERAGE CONTAINER WITH SELF-CONTAINED STRAW OR PRIZE CAPSULEJuly, 2008Esposito
20090314735INFLATABLE CONTAINER FOR FEEDING BABIESDecember, 2009Vaserman
20070199914Cap assembly for bottlesAugust, 2007Hung
20090120895Reclosable Baby Bottle LinerMay, 2009Sprehe
20060076258Printable prescription vialApril, 2006Pencoske
20080006601Full measure containerJanuary, 2008Stoddard
20070228000Encapsulation cap and display device including the sameOctober, 2007Kim
20080156766Integrated Container Adapter and Display TrayJuly, 2008Darling



Primary Examiner:
NGO, LIEN M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
John D. Unsworth (Flamborough, ON, CA)
Claims:

I claim the following:



1. A sealing member includes a seal pad, which is detachably attached, directly or indirectly, and wholly or partly to the orifice of a container, and the sealing member includes an elongated part or tail that is connected to the said seal pad, and the elongated part or tail can be initially located wholly on top of the said seal pad or partly on top of the seal pad and partly adjacent to the side of the container, and the sealing member, while sealing the orifice of the container, is folded over on itself, or curled, on or immediately adjacent to the said seal pad, such that when the operator pulls the distal end of the elongated part, or tail, 8 away from the orifice of the container and the elongated part or tail becomes taut, but before the said sealing member unseals, the said elongated part or tail will pass over the seal pad from the point of connection with the said seal pad 10, through approximately the center of the said seal pad and thence to a location approximately opposite the location of the said connection, and the said elongated part or tail will thence pass adjacent to the side of the container, and as the operator continues to pull the elongated part, or tail of the sealing member in the same said direction 8, or approximately that direction, the seal pad will peal away, or popped-off or tear away, from the said orifice of the container, thereby detaching itself directly or indirectly, and wholly or partly from its attachment to the orifice of the container, and thereby unseal the orifice of the container, and any fluid material in the container may then pour out of the container, if the container has been tipped or inverted sufficiently for such purpose, or when it is so tipped or inverted.

2. A sealing member includes a seal pad, which is detachably attached, directly or indirectly, and wholly or partly to the orifice of a container, and the sealing member includes an elongated part or tail that is connected to the said seal pad, and the elongated part or tail can be initially located wholly on top of the said seal pad or partly on top of the seal pad and partly adjacent to the side of the container, and the operator can fold the sealing member over on itself, or curl the said sealing member, on or immediately adjacent to the said seal pad, and having positioned the sealing member in this manner, such that when the operator pulls the distal end of the elongated part, or tail, 8 away from the orifice of the container and the elongated part or tail becomes taut, but before the said sealing member unseals, the said elongated part or tail will pass over the seal pad from the point of connection with the said seal pad, through approximately the center of the said seal pad and thence to a location approximately opposite the location of the said connection, and the said elongated part or tail will thence pass adjacent to the side of the container, and as the operator continues to pull the elongated part, or tail of the sealing member in the same said direction 8, the seal pad will peal away, or popped-off or tear away, from the said orifice of the container, thereby detaching itself directly or indirectly, and wholly or partly from its attachment to the orifice of the container, and thereby unseal the orifice of the container, and any fluid material in the container may then pour out of the container, if the container has been tipped or inverted sufficiently for such purpose, or when it is so tipped or inverted.

3. A method of emptying a sealed delivering container, as described in claim 1, wherein the container is placed in the receiving port of a receiving container, while the container is still sealed, and because the said delivering container is still sealed, the said container can be in a position that if not sealed, the fluid material inside the delivering container would pour out of the said container, and the operator pulls the tail of the sealing member away from the orifice of the container, which causes the seal pad to peal, pop-off, or tear away, wholly or partly from the orifice of the delivering container, causing the fluid material in the delivering container to pour out of the delivering container, without spilling any fluid material outside of the delivery port of the receiving container.

4. A method of emptying a sealed delivering container, as described in claim 2, wherein the container is placed in the receiving port of a receiving container, while the container is still sealed, and because the said delivering container is still sealed, the said container can be in a position that if not sealed, the fluid material inside the delivering container would pour out of the said container, and the operator pulls the tail of the sealing member away from the orifice of the container, which causes the seal pad to peal, pop-off, or tear away, wholly or partly from the orifice of the delivering container, causing the fluid material in the delivering container to pour out of the delivering container, without spilling any fluid material outside of the delivery port of the receiving container.

5. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein a channel is formed in the threads or raised groove on the container, adjacent to the container orifice 1b, that acts to channel or guide the elongated part of the sealing member, or the tail, and to prevent it from turning radially around the container as the container cap 1a is turned, and the elongated member or tail is thereby aligned and positioned with respect to the container, so the seal pad will peal away, pop-off or tear away from the orifice of the container when the operator pulls the elongated member or tail in a direction away from the orifice of the container.

6. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the sealing member is detachably attached to the container, directly or indirectly, continuously or at points along the elongate member or tail, to position, and the elongated member or tail is thereby aligned and positioned with respect to the container, so the seal pad will peal away, pop-off or tear away from the orifice of the container when the operator pulls the elongated member or tail in a direction away from the orifice of the container

7. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the sealing member is aligned and positioned with respect to the container and with respect to parts of the sealing member, by the use of bands 5, 5a hooks, loops, notches, snags 5c, grasps and other channelling or gathering means, and the elongated member or tail is thereby aligned and positioned with respect to the container, so the seal pad will peal away, pop-off or tear away from the orifice of the container when the operator pulls the elongated member or tail in a direction away from the orifice of the container, and in some cases the tail will remain attached to the container after use.

8. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the elongate member is formed, shaped and slotted or made flexible, to impart or facilitate a concave or cupping shape to form into the elongate member or tail of the sealing member, on and around where the said elongate member or tail interacts with the edge of the container orifice and the seal pad, for the purpose of better aligning the said elongate member or tail with respect to the container, and to prevent the elongated member or tail from sliding radially around the container orifice, when the operator pulls the elongate member away from the orifice of the container, so the seal pad will peal away, pop-off or tear away from the orifice of the container when the operator pulls the elongated member or tail in a direction away from the orifice of the container.

9. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the elongated member or tail is attached to the container connected to the container with sufficient permanency at one or more locations, so the said elongated member or tail cannot wholly separate from the container, after it is unsealed.

10. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the elongated member or tail is shaped, formed or attached to the container in such a way that it forms a handle or some other convenient purchase for the operator to grasp and pull.

11. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein aligning and channelling means are incorporated into the sealing member.

12. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein aligning and channelling means that are incorporated into the sealing member at made wholly detachably attachable, or partly detachably attachable, to allow for the relatively unencumbered pealing back, popping-off or tearing away of the seal pad from the orifice of the container.

13. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein part or all of the elongated member or tail is compacted on top of the seal pad by various means, prior to use.

14. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the container has a screw or pop-on top.

15. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the aligning means forms a pulley to increase the mechanical advantage of pulling on the seal pad to peal, pop-off or tear away the seal pad, and to unseal the container.

16. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the elongated seal or tail is wholly located within the container, when the top of the container in on.

17. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein a part of the seal pad is attached to the orifice of the container, while the remainder of the said seal pad is detachably attached to the said orifice of the container, to prevent the seal pad from being completely removed from the container.

18. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein a fob located on the proximal end of the elongated seal or tail, contains an adhesive to permit it to be attached to the container, after use, to reduce refuse.

19. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein a fob located on the proximal end of the elongated seal or tail, contains advertising and/or directions for use.

20. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein directions for positioning the elongated seal or tail with respect to the container and for use are included on an appropriate place on the container.

Description:

REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

[0001] This application is filed in furtherance of an informal application filed in the U.S. patent on 15/19/2003, said informal application having the same Title and the same Inventor.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0002] The present invention generally relates to a lid for a container openable by peeling and more specifically to containers that dispense fluids into receiving ports or orifices without spillage, and a method for using them.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0003] The handling of motor oils and motor fuel additives are good examples of the difficulties that can be encountered in the transfer of materials from any container to which this patent is addressed. Recently, motor oil and oil additives for automobiles have been packaged in plastic bottles with threaded necks and cooperatively threaded resealable caps. The oil from these containers can be poured directly into the oil receiving port or orifices of the engine. Due to the awkward location of the oil receiving ports in most automobiles, oil often spills over the rest of the engine when poured directly from the bottle, creating undesirable waste and mess. Ordinary funnels are often used in attempt to alleviate this problem. However an ordinary funnel is often dirty and oily, and at self-serve stations they often offer only disposable paper funnels that buckle and spill. Often one tries to tilt the oil bottle just enough to place it in the oil receiving port, but at the same time not so much that the oil spills out before the bottle is fully inserted. A bolder attempt can cause the oil to surge and if the connection is missed slightly the results are messy. Alas, too often ones aim or timing is off, perhaps a false start or contact with an engine part, the result: oil on the engine to smoke and attract dirt and cause air polution. At night time it is more difficult, all reasons for not checking the oil regularly.

[0004] Once the oil bottle is successfully inserted into the oil receiving port and some oil has been dispensed, it is then not difficult to remove the bottle without spillage, as just a slight tilting of the bottle puts the nozzle well above the level of the oil in the bottle. Also for the removal, the bottle need not be aimed.

[0005] The main problem then is inserting the oil bottle in the receiving port, without spillage.

PRIOR ART

[0006] There have been many attempts to solve the problems in the prior art. All of them unfortunately involve the attachment of devices onto the end of the container or expensive tops on the containers. The reusable devices themselves become dirty and oily and must be removed and replaced by the operator's hands. Another difficult is that these reusable devices must be stored between uses. Examples of such devices are as follows:

[0007] In U.S. Pat. No. 4,884,600 is disclosed a nozzle that attaches to the oil container that includes a shut-off handle and a valve that is opened by pressing the assembly downward into the receiving port.

[0008] In U.S. Pat. No. 2,593,634 is disclosed a spigot that opens by being pressed against the receiving port of the container into which the fluid is being poured, and returns to its closed position when the spigot is withdrawn from the port.

[0009] In U.S. Pat. No. 3,074,444 is disclosed a spigot that opens as it is pushed against the receiving port and closes when it is withdrawn, relying on a spring and valve.

[0010] In U.S. Pat. No. 2,701,078 is disclosed a spigot that contains a valve member that opens as a bill is engaged against a side of the receiving port and the assembly in pushed into the receiving port, and then closes as it is withdrawn.

[0011] Accordingly, there is a distinct need for a way in which petroleum bottles can be improved to eliminate spillage during the initial insertion of the bottle into a receiving port of an engine or other vessel, which does not require the attachment and removal of a device from the container every time it is used.

[0012] Also there is a need to effect this desired improvements cheaply, using a disposable element, without requiring changes in the design of the bottles and containers that are now in use.

[0013] Also there is a need to effect the desired improvements without the operator having to touch any part that is dirty or oily, at any time.

[0014] Also there is a distinct need for a way in which other containers, containing other fluids can be similarly improved to eliminate spillage during their insertion into other types of receiving ports.

[0015] The present invention involves the use of a flexible peelable seal. Such seals are well known to the art such as disclosed for example in U.S. Pat. No. 3,391,847, which describes the use of such a seal to cover the top of a disposable container. In each case these disposable seals were designed to be opened when the container is upright, whereas the seal which is the subject of this invention is designed to be opened when the container is in the inverted position, that is when the liquid or other material will immediately pour out of the container orifice, when the seal is opened; also it may be opened when the seal is obstructed by a receiving port into which the seal and container orifice have been placed. The seals described in the prior art would be unsuitable for this purpose as one could not gain access to open the seal because the seal and spout would be within the receiving port, and even if access could be gained, the liquid or other material would gush out when the seal was opened to cover and perhaps contaminate the operators hands.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0016] It is an object of this invention to improved existing and future containers to eliminate spillage during their insertion into receiving ports, and to do so without the operator's hands ever coming in contact with oil, or having to attach, remove or touch any oily or dirty valve or spigot.

[0017] It is an object of this invention to ensure that no spillage can occur before a container is securely placed in a receiving port.

[0018] It is a further object of this invention to keep the operator's hands well away from the material being poured into the receiving port. This will ensure that one's hands are not dirtied or contaminated by the material being poured.

[0019] It is a further object of this invention to improve bottles and containers by adding only one or two small plastic parts that are light, disposable and inexpensive.

[0020] The foregoing and other objects, features and advantages of this invention will be apparent from the following, more particular description of the preferred embodiments of this invention, as illustrated in the accompanying drawings.

[0021] The invention is a method and a device for remotely peeling off a peelable seal, using only one or two pieces of flexible material.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0022] FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a container that is in its sealed mode, after the screw cap has been removed.

[0023] FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a container that illustrates the container in the pouring position, in both the sealed and the partly unsealed modes.

[0024] FIG. 3 and FIG. 4 are perspective views of the sealing strips, illustrating the centering slit(s) 4a and looped and fob type terminations on the proximal end of the strip.

[0025] FIG. 5 is a perspective view of a container that is in its sealed mode, after the screw top has been removed, with a small band 5a that aligns the tail 4.

[0026] FIG. 6 is a perspective view of a container that illustrates the container in the pouring position, in both the sealed and the partly unsealed modes, also illustrating how the small band 5a acts to collect the seal pad 3 as it is removed.

[0027] FIG. 7 is a perspective view of a container that illustrates how the small band 5a can be incorporated into the seal pad 3. FIG. 7 also illustrates a channel 2a through the threads 2 of the container to position and align the tail 4 of the seal, and facilitate opening and closing of the container cap 1a, without twisting the tail.

[0028] FIG. 8 is a perspective view of a container that illustrates how the small band 5a can be incorporated into the seal pad 3, but also be detachably attached or attached to the seal pad 3 by attachment means 6b, to allow for assembly without having to thread the tail 4 through the loop formed with the band 5b.

[0029] FIG. 9 is a perspective view of a container that illustrates and example of a preferred embodiment for those applications that require more mechanical advantage to remove the seal pad 3 by employing a second loop 5b to act as a pulley.

[0030] FIG. 10 is a perspective view of a container that illustrates an example of a preferred embodiment in which the tail 4 of the seal member is compacted onto the seal pad 3, prior to deployment, to permit ease of manufacture.

[0031] FIG. 11 is a perspective view of a container that illustrates an example of a preferred embodiment in which the tail 4 of the seal member is compacted into the seal pad 3 prior to deployment in an accordion fashion.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0032] FIG. 1 and FIG. 2 illustrate a preferred embodiment of the invention which is a sealing means for a container spout or pouring port, which can initially be sealed and then opened both while in the pouring position, and while the container spout is already located inside the receiving port.

[0033] The great advantage of this invention is that no spillage can occur before a container is securely placed in a receiving port, because until that time the container can remain sealed even while the container in the pouring position.

[0034] The peelable sealing means, referred to herein as the seal, is comprised of any flexible material or composite of materials that are flexible and provide an appropriate seal to prevent the material inside the container from leaking out while it is in the pouring position. The material is sufficiently flexible that it can bend around the bottle as illustrated in FIG. 1 and FIG. 2. The seal or sealing member is comprised of a seal pad 3 and an elongated seal member or seal tail 4. The seal can be partly or wholly peeled away from the orifice 1b of the container, to which it is wholly or partly detachably attached, directly or indirectly, by an operator pulling the tail 4 away from the orifice 1b of the container 1, for example, in direction 8; the tail 4 being connected to a part of the seal pad 3, usually immediately adjacent to the edge of the seal 10, so that the tail of the seal 3, 4 pulls that part of the seal pad 3, to which it is attached 10, across the surface of the seal pad in a line running from the point of attachment 10, through the centre of the seal pad 3 and thence to the opposite side of the seal pad and beyond. In the preferred embodiment, the seal pad 3 and/or the tail 4 curls back on itself and in the case illustrated in FIG. 1 and FIG. 2 this occurs at location 10. It is this curling back, in the preferred embodiment, which positions the seal pad to peal back and away from the orifice 1b of the container 1, when the operator 7 remotely pulls on the tail 4, and in the case illustrated in FIG. 1 and FIG. 2 this pulling is in direction 8. So long as the tail of the seal is pulled across the seal pad, in approximately the direction described above, in combination with the curl of the seal pad and/or the tail 4 and perhaps being channelled by other features of the invention, the operator's hand 7 can be remote from the seal pad 3 being pealed off, and be well away from any material which would then flow from the now open orifice 1b of the container 1. As can be readily appreciated, the neck or nozzle of the container 1 can also be wholly within the receiving port 1c of a vessel 1d, as illustrated in FIG. 2, when unsealed, and yet the operator can remove the seal remotely without soiling his hands and without spilling any of the liquid being poured.

[0035] It is to be understood that while the preferred embodiments position the seal pad 3 and/or the tail 4 in a curled position, to more conveniently remove the seal, the tail could be initially located so as not to have the initial cur, and leave it for the operator to effect a curl before removing the seal. While this would be less convenient, it is to be understood that this would be within the ambit of the invention.

[0036] The flexible seal can be in one or more attached pieces, although the simplest arrangement is to have a single piece. Some applications will require that the seal portion that actually seals the container port, the “seal pad” 3, be made of special, perhaps more expensive material. In such cases it would be appropriate to make the seal out of two or more different materials held together by various means, well known to the art as illustrated in FIG. 3 and FIG. 4, which illustrates a possible connecting point 10 at approximately the point between the seal pad 3 and the seal tail 4.

[0037] It is important to understand that although the preferred embodiment illustrated on FIG. 1 FIG. 2, FIGS. 5 6, 7, 8. 9 and 10 illustrate a simple peel seal that is actuated from the seal pad edge, other preferred embodiments would include those seal pads that are removed by pulling a tab located on other portions of the seal pad, and it should be understood that these would constitute other embodiments of the invention. It is also important that some embodiments of the present invention include tear-off and snap-off tops as well as peel-off tops including those where only a portion of the top is removed. In each case these parts that are removed or partly removed ought to be considered as a seal pad 3 for the purposes of this invention. Any top that can be opened by a motion of the tail 4, similar to that illustrated 9 on FIG. 2 that causes some portion of the seal pad 3 and or tail 4 to curl back on itself before the operator 7 pulls the tail 4 and/or during the pull, comes within the ambit of this invention.

[0038] The seal pad 3 of preferred embodiments can be detachably attached to the orifice 1b of the container, directly or indirectly, thus creating the seal, by means well known to the art, which include adhesives, heat fusing, and ultrasound welding. The tail 4 of the seal can be detachably attached to the seal pad 3 and the container 1 at various convenient points, three of which 6 are illustrated on FIG. 1. The purpose of these detachable attachments is to keep the assembly tidy, and also to assist in maintaining the correct position of the tail 4 relative to the top of the container 1 orifice 1b, so that when the tail 4 is pulled in direction 8 by the operator 7 the seal pad 3 is peeled away from the orifice 1b of the container 1, in approximately direction 9, rather than having the tail 4 slide radially, along the orifice edge on which it is sliding, and then fall off the edge, in direction 8a, all as illustrated in FIG. 1 and FIG. 2, or a direction opposite to direction 8a.

[0039] One preferred embodiment ensures that the tail does not slide around the edge of the container orifice 1b by creating a concave shape in the tail 4 which conforms to the convex shape or round shape of the container orifice 1b. In the preferred embodiment illustrated on FIG. 1 and FIG. 2 this concave or cupping shape is effected by two simple slits 4a in the tail of the seal, which forms three bands; the centre band may then be stretched to form a cupping shape that curves around the round top of the container 1. Other preferred embodiments use any number of slits 4a to effect this purpose, as illustrated in FIGS. 3 and 4. The cupping shape is created if the tail 4 is slightly elastic or the centre of the tail is stretched longitudinally, so that the relatively shorter longitudinal edges of the tail 4 tend to rap around or cup, the round shape of the container orifice 1b. Some preferred embodiments of the invention effect this longitudinal stretching in whole or in part by incorporating slits 4c with their longitudinal axis orientated normal to the longitudinal axis of the tail 4 as illustrated in FIGS. 3 and 4. While FIGS. 3 and 4 show one row of slits, it should be understood that any number and arrangement of holes or slits might be used for this purpose. In some preferred embodiments of the invention, the elastic qualities of the material chosen for the tail, provide ample cupping and no other provisions may be necessary, such as the said slits or forming. In other embodiments of the invention, and for some containers, no provision need be made for the sliding in direction 8a or for similar sliding in other directions; or other provisions have been made to prevent sliding, in which cases the tail may not contain any slits or cupping features.

[0040] This longitudinal stretching of the centre of the tail 4 can be effected in the course of manufacturing the seals 4 on the containers 1. The round shape of the container orifice 1b can act as the form and the desired shape can be obtained by simply stretching the deformable tail 4 over the container orifice 1b, after it is otherwise in the proper alignment. This forms the desired cupping. Other means to create this concave or cupping shape can be utilized and still come within the ambit of the invention such as simply imparting the shape in a polymer strip or metal foil by forming or pressing. Forming the cupped shape by stretching the tail 4 over a form may obviate completely or partly the need for slits 4a and 4c. These methods are well known to the art of polymer and metal foil fabrication. While FIGS. 3 and 4 illustrate oval shaped slits 4a and 4c, other preferred embodiments incorporate slits of any shape, including simple cuts, so long as they will cause the centre of the tail to expand laterally and longitudinally respectively, forming the necessary cup shape.

[0041] In another preferred embodiment illustrated in FIG. 5 and FIG. 6, a band 5a is placed on the seal pad 3 itself. This band 5a can be an integral part of the seal or be attached by means well known to the art, including ultra sonic welding or by adhesives. These points of attachment can be detachable or non-detachable, or one can be detachable and the other non-detachable. The purpose for making at least one attachment detachable would be to allow the gathered and peeled part of the seal pad 3 to pass through, the loop that was formed before said detachment. FIG. 7 is an example of how band 5a can be incorporated into the seal pad 3. FIG. 8 is a further example of how band 5a can be incorporated into the seal pad 3, but this example one end of the loop is detachably attached or attached to the seal pad 3 by attachment 6b. The purpose of attaching the end of the loop in this manner is to permit the placement of the tail 4 in the loop 5a, prior to attachment 6b, so that the tail need not be threaded through the loop 5a. In many cases this will allow for easier and faster assembly of the seal and loop. The attachment 6b can be accomplished by many means, well known to the art, such as adhesives and ultrasonic welding.

[0042] The band 5a on FIG. 5 and FIG. 6 can be of various sizes and a number of bands might be utilized instead of just one. The band 5a can also be located on various positions on the seal pad 3, but in FIGS. 5 and 6 it has been located between the center point and the edge of the orifice 1b, opposite the place where the tail 4 merges into the seal pad 3, at 10 as shown of FIG. 5. This configuration may require only a simple tail 4 without any forming or slots 4a, 4c or cupping shapes to assist in aligning the tail 4 as described above, but some embodiments may incorporate some or all of the additional methods as well. Also no band 5 may be required for some purposes. For embodiments that use the band 5a, and for some other embodiments as well, the tail may be attached to the container 1 as illustrated in FIG. 2, so that when the seal is removed it remains with the container 1, thereby reducing additional refuse.

[0043] In some preferred embodiments of the invention the proximal end of the tail 4 is free-footed, except for perhaps the detachable attachment at 6, as illustrated on FIG. 1, others, for example, are attached to the container 1 at 6a, as illustrated on FIG. 2. The advantage of connecting 6a the proximal end of the tail to the container 1, as illustrated on FIG. 2, is that it prevents the tail from separating from the container 1 after use, reducing refuse. Also the tail 4 can form a handle when the top 1a of the container 1 is on and securely holding the distal end of the tail. A further advantage of attaching the proximal end of the tail 4 to the container at or around 6a is that a curve or loop is thus formed 4b and the operator can hook his finger in the loop to pull the tail, as illustrated on FIG. 2.

[0044] Preferred embodiments of the invention include many different ways of terminating the tail at the proximal end to facilitate the operator gripping the tail 4 at this point. These methods are well known to the art. Some have fob shaped ends 4b, such as illustrated in FIG. 4, which can be used as a surface for advertising or directions for use; while others have openings 4b as illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 3, through which the operator can place a finger to facilitate pulling the tail.

[0045] Some preferred embodiments of the invention include sliding means 5 for aligning and containing the tail relative to the container 1. FIGS. 1 and 2 illustrate a band 5 which allows the tail 4 to slide between the container 1 and the band 5, while at the same time the band controls the tail's relative lateral position with respect to the container. The band can be bound to the container by adhesive or such other means, well known to the art, except for a portion that forms a loop, through which the tail 4 passes, as illustrated on FIGS. 1 and 2. This assists in channelling or aligning the tail with respect to the container so that it does not slide around, and then off the rim of the container's orifice 1b in direction 8a, or in a direction opposite to 8a, as illustrated on FIG. 1, when the tail is pulled, as described above, or when the screw cap is screwed onto the container, or subsequently, when it is screwed off. It should be noted that in most cases this loop is much smaller than that illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2; which has been made large for diagrammatical clarity. Other preferred embodiments use bands that are not attached by any other means than by their own tension. And some preferred embodiments use the band that falls away from the tamper-proof caps when it is unscrewed. One advantage of using a band is that it assists in preventing the seal from separating from the container, after use, thereby reducing refuse.

[0046] Other preferred embodiments do not use bands at all, to maintain alignment, and rely on the tension of the tail 4 between the rim of the container 1 orifice 1b and the point of attachment between the proximal end of the tail 4 and the container 1. Other embodiments of the invention channel and control the position of the tail 4 with clasps or guides that permit the tail 4 to slide within the clasp or guide, which are well known to the art, for example: loops and hooks (open loops), parallel grooves between which the tail slides, all of which may be connected to the container or an integral part of the container itself. Clasping and guiding means also might include “T” sections that are attached or form part of the container 1 and interact with the cuts or grooves 4a in the tail 4 to guide the tail 4, all methods all well known to the art.

[0047] In other preferred embodiments where additional mechanical advantage is required to remove the seal, an additional loop 5b can be employed to create a pulley as illustrated in FIG. 9 and where the end of the tail is can be attached to the seal itself 10 as shown on FIG. 9, or perhaps in other preferred embodiment to the container 1. In some preferred embodiments the loop 5a might be dispensed with, where this particular guiding means for the tail 4 is not required.

[0048] While FIG. 1 and FIG. 2 illustrate a twist or threaded top 1a, it is to be understood that preferred embodiments of the invention may have all types of container tops, including for example, snap-on and swaged, or no top or cap at all.

[0049] It should be noted that the twist cap 1a is placed on after the seal 3, 4 is in place. Depending upon the type of twist cap used, some detachable attachments 6 by adhesive or other means well known to the art may be used in certain cases to hold the tail in place while the cap is being put on, when the container is filled and later when the container is emptied. In most cases however this will not be necessary, especially if sufficient tension is applied to the tail 4 between the rim of the container orifice 1b and the point of attachment at the proximal end of the tail 4, or other alignment means are used, as described above.

[0050] A channel 2a may also be included in the threads 2 of the container 1 to provide passage for the tail and reduce the friction between the thread on the cap and the tail 4 and thereby reduce the tendency of the tail to turn around with the cap 1a when it is being closed or opened, but in most cases this is unnecessary. The edges of the channel 2a also provide a barrier to the tail 4, preventing the turning around of the tail 4. In those containers that do not have threaded connections between the container 1 and the cap 1a, but rather a raised rim adjacent to the container orifice 1b that interacts with a cap to form a snap-on connection, this channel would pass through the said raised section and would serve the same purpose as the channel through the threads, described above. Some preferred embodiments have no cap or closure and rely on the seal itself for securing the contents of the container 1.

[0051] In another preferred embodiment of the invention the tail 4 is compacted by various means on the seal pad 3, an example of which is illustrated on FIG. 10 in which the tail 4 is compacted in a horizontal zigzag fashion and FIG. 11 in which the tail 4 is compacted in a vertical accordion fashion. The advantage of this arrangement is the seal can be placed on the container without any other modifications to the container or, in many cases, the machinery used to bottle the contents of the container. Methods of compaction are well known to the art and include folding, accordion fashion vertically or horizontally (as illustrated in FIGS. 10 and 11), stacking and zigzag arrangements, coiling, and using elastic materials for the tail 4, scrolling, curling and curling by scraping the surface of the tail 4. The tail 4 can be detachably attached to the seal pad 3 continuously, or at various point(s), although in a preferred embodiment the tail 4 is detachably attached in that position 6 as illustrated in FIG. 10 and FIG. 11. This point of detachable attachment 6 serves to align the tail, as it is being pulled by the operator 7 down the side of the container in Direction 8 as illustrated in FIG. 10 and FIG. 11. This alignment insures the tail does not slide around the orifice 1b of the container in direction 8a or in the opposite direction, as discussed above.

[0052] The seal pad 3 may be recessed to accommodate the bulk of the tail 4 located on top of the seal pad 3, as illustrated on FIG. 10 and FIG. 11, or it may not be necessary, depending on the bulk of the tail 4 and the shape of the cap 1a. Those preferred embodiments that compact the tail of the seal on top of the seal pad may, but need not, include one or more bands 5a to gather together the compacted tail 4, an example of which is illustrated in FIG. 11, where the band 5a may be detachably attached 6c to permit the tail 4 to uncompress when pulled by the operator or may not detach, but simply allow the tail 4 to slip through its grasp. Other preferred embodiments may gather together the tail 4 on top of the seal pad 3 and detachably attach it to the seal pad by utilizing detachable attachments, well known to the art, such as adhesives.

[0053] In some preferred embodiments, provision will be made for ensuring that the seal pad 3 and/or 3 cannot be completely removed from the container, to reduce refuse, and this might include making the attachment permanent between the seal pad 3 and the container orifice 1b at the last portion that would otherwise separate when the seal pad is pealed off of the container orifice, that location being approximately under the location 6 of the detachable attachment between the tail 4 and the seal pad 3 of that example illustrated on FIG. 10 and FIG. 11. Other similar means of permanent attachment could be used in other preferred embodiments, by means well known to the art.

[0054] Other preferred embodiments may include a snag 5c that can align and position the tail 4 and keep the tail and container together after use, an example of which is illustrated in FIG. 11. The sag 5c maintains the position of the tail 4 with respect to the container 1, but still allows the tail to slide through the snag, so that the seal can be removed. For example, in the case of FIG. 11, the operator 7 could remove the cap 1a of the container 1, pull the fob 4b from the top of the seal pad 3, then pulling the fob in direction 8, pull the tail 4 taut, ensuring that the tail 4 slides in slot 3a, if such a slot is provided; then if the operator wishes to keep the tail and container together after use, and if the snag 5c or other grasping device, well known to the art is attached or a part of the container, the operator could snag the tail in the snag 5c. The operator could then place the orifice 1b of the container in the receiving port 1c, which might require that the container would be in the pouring position. The operator would only then firmly pull the tail in direction 8, breaking the seal and allowing the contents of the container 1 to pour out, without spilling a drop outside the receiving port 1c. The snag or other grasping device could be placed at any convenient place on the container and any number of them might be used, depending upon the circumstances.

[0055] The various means of shaping, cupping and slotting the tail 4, for better alignment of the tail with respect to the container 1, are included in some preferred embodiments of this compact tail arrangement. A fob 4a can be included at the proximal end of the tail to improve purchase for the operator. This fob might contain directions for example, for positioning the fob and pulling it after the orifice of the container has been placed in the receiving port, or a low release adhesive might be attached to the fob to allow it to be stuck to the container after use to reduce refuse. The fob can be of various sizes and in some preferred embodiments takes up almost the entire space on top of the seal pad 3. While FIG. 11 illustrates the fob 4b in the extended position, it is to be understood that when the cap 1a is on the container 1, the fob is located on top of the seal pad 3. And FIG. 10 illustrates the fob 4b in both the extended position and in the position on top of the seal pad 3, for diagrammatical clarity.

[0056] A notch or channel 3a may be placed in the seal pad 3 in some preferred embodiments, which may in some embodiments also be reinforced at this point by, for example, laminating another piece of material onto the top of the seal pad 3 at this location, or by other means well known to the art. The purpose of this notch is to maintain the alignment of the tail being pulled through the notch or channel 3a in direction 8 by operator 7. This notch or channel 3a can be of any convenient size as required by the size and width of the tail 4. Similarly, in some preferred embodiments, this notch is made in the edge of the container orifice 1b, at approximately the same location, in such a manner that the seal between the seal pad 3 and the container orifice 1b is not compromised.

[0057] Some preferred embodiments will include instructions 11 for positioning the tail 4 and for using it, printed or applied in some way, known to the art, on the container or label on the container, and example of which is illustrated on FIG. 11.

[0058] It is to understood that the illustrations are made for diagrammatical clarity and the invention is not limited to the dimensions and clearances therein illustrated. For example the tail 4 will in many preferred embodiments closely hug the side of the vessel; likewise the strap 5, if used, in many embodiments will not have such a large loop, but will hold the tail 4 snugly against the container. Some embodiments of the invention may use no strap at all, or one or more straps. The width and length and shape of the seal may also vary. It is also to be understood that the points of attachment whether detachable or permanent, may be continuous or their number and their positions with respect to the container 1 and sealing member 3 and 4, may vary depending upon the size and shape of bottle, as well as the use to which it is put. For example the loop 4b illustrated in FIG. 1 might be attached at the bottom of the container 1 rather than at location 6 as shown in FIG. 1.

[0059] While the present invention describes various preferred embodiments having certain specific features, it is to be understood that any preferred embodiment may have any combination, set or subset of features described in other preferred embodiments herein described.

[0060] While the present invention has been described in conjunction with preferred embodiments, it is to be understood that modifications and variations may be resorted to without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention as those skilled in the art will readily understand. Such modifications and variations are considered to be within the purview and scope of the inventions and appended claims.