Title:
One piece plastic tether
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A tether that is formed from plastic resin is used for securing a captive article, e.g., a scoop to a container such as a bottle or the like. The tether comprises a ring-shaped body portion defining a collar that is constructed and dimensioned to fit around the neck of the container. An integral arcuate leash encircles the collar and is concentric exteriorly of the collar so as to at least partially surround the collar. An integral radially extending connecting ligament also formed from the same plastic resin is located between the collar and a proximal end of the leash. A fastener is provided on the free end of the leash for securing the tether to the captive article.



Inventors:
Anderson, Dennis C. (Northfield, MN, US)
Application Number:
11/109049
Publication Date:
10/26/2006
Filing Date:
04/20/2005
Assignee:
NATIONAL POLYMERS INC.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B65D25/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
BRADEN, SHAWN M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
DeWitt LLP (Minneapolis, MN, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A tether formed from plastic resin for securing a captive article to a container, said tether comprising, a ring-shaped body portion defining a collar that is constructed and dimensioned to fit around said container, an arcuate leash encircling the collar so as to be concentric exteriorly thereof for at least partially surrounding the collar, an integral plastic ligament extending between the collar and a proximal end of the leash and, a fastener at the free end of the leash for securing the tether to a captive article.

2. The tether of claim 1 wherein the leash, the collar and the connecting ligament are composed flat sheet plastic material and are formed coplanar with each other.

3. The tether of claim 1 wherein a handle extends from the tether as an aid for grasping the tether.

4. The tether of claim 3 wherein the handle is a tab that extends radially outwardly from the collar between the plastic ligament and the fastener.

5. A tether formed from plastic resin for securing an article to a container, said tether comprising, a ring-shaped body portion that is formed from plastic resin and defines a collar for attachment to said container, an arcuate leash that is constructed to curve toward the collar, said leash being integrally connected to said collar at a proximal end of said leash and the free end of the leash being adapted to be attached to a captive article.

6. The tether of claim 5 wherein the leash and the collar are each formed as a flat plastic sheet of material and are coplanar with each other.

7. The leash of claim 5 wherein a handle extends from the tether as an aid for grasping the tether.

8. The tether of claim 5 wherein the handle extends radially outwardly from the collar adjacent a proximal end of the leash.

9. The tether of claim 5 wherein the tether is formed from injection molded plastic resin.

10. A one-piece tether formed from flat of plastic resinous strip material comprising, a centrally located ring defining a collar portion, a leash that is formed coplanar with the collar and exteriorly encircles the collar, a proximal end of the leash is integrally connected to the collar and a fastener is located at a free end of the leash for securing the tether to a captive article.

11. The tether of claim 10 wherein the fastener comprises a flattened enlargement in the form of an arrowhead for facilitating the insertion of the free end of the leash into an opening in said article.

12. The tether of claim 10 wherein a handle comprising a tab extends radially outwardly from the collar.

13. The tether of claim 5 in combination with a bottle that extends through the collar and a scoop attached to the free end of the leash.

14. The device of claim 13 and a fastener at the free end of the leash connected to the scoop.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates to plastic items and more particularly to a plastic tether for securing an article to a container or other object.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Many devices have been produced for connecting articles to one another. U.S. Pat. No. 5,593,026, for example, describes a carrier formed from flat plastic sheet stock with six openings for carrying bottles. U.S. Pat. No. 3,504,790 shows another plastic carrier holding six bottles. It includes an upper carrier with six openings and a lower carrier with six openings so as to encircle the bottles at two levels. U.S. Pat. No. 2,970,729 describes a carrier that includes thongs, each consisting of a flat plastic strip with identical ears at each end. Each ear has an eye that is centered so that the strip can be formed into a loop or noose 14 for placement around the neck of a bottle. The noose must be formed by hand which is time consuming and labor intensive.

In view of these and other shortcomings of the prior art, it is one object of the present invention to provide a tether that can be attached to a container, e.g., by placing it over the neck of a bottle with a single movement and without requiring the tether to be manipulated in order to attach it to the bottle.

Another object of the invention is to provide a tether that is formed from a single piece of plastic material.

Still another object is to provide a tether that can be used for securing a captive article such as a scoop to a container, e.g., a bottle in a manner that will help the scoop to enter a carton as the bottle is placed therein.

A more specific object of the invention is to provide a tether that is preformed so as to automatically hold an article in close proximity with a container to facilitate packaging the container and article.

Another object is to enable a scoop to be used for removing material from a bottle while remaining attached by the tether.

These and other more detailed and specific objects of the present invention will be better understood by reference to the following figures and detailed description which illustrate by way of example but a few of the various forms of the invention within the scope of the appended claims.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

A tether that is formed from plastic resin is provided for securing a captive article, e.g., a scoop to a container such as a bottle or the like. The tether comprises a ring-shaped body portion defining a collar that is constructed and dimensioned to fit around the neck of the container. An integral arcuate leash encircles the collar and is concentric exteriorly of the collar so as to at least partially surround the collar. An integral radially extending connecting ligament also formed from the same plastic resin is located between the collar and a proximal end of the leash. A fastener is provided on the free end of the leash for securing the tether to the captive article.

THE FIGURES

FIG. 1 is a plan view of one preferred form of tether according to the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the tether of FIG. 1 on a slightly smaller scale.

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of the tether as it appears while in use for securing a spoon to a bottle just before being placed into a carton.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

As shown in the Figures, the invention comprises a tether indicated generally by the numeral 10. The tether includes a ring-shaped body portion 12 which defines a collar that is constructed and dimensioned to fit around the neck of a container such as a bottle 14 (FIG. 3). The entire tether 10 is formed from flat plastic strip material, e.g., injection molded polyethylene which can be, for example, 0.02 inches thickness. The body portion 12 is typically about ⅛ of an inch in width. In one application the body 12 had an internal diameter of 1.42 inches and can be placed around the neck of a bottle 14 with a single downward movement, i.e., without requiring manipulation of the tether 10 as it is snapped onto the bottle.

An integral arcuate leash 16 encircles the collar and is concentric with the collar 12 exteriorly thereof. The leash 16 at least partially encircles the collar 12 and typically extends around the entire circumference of the collar 12. The leash can, for example, have a thickness of about 0.02 inches and a width of about 0.093 inches. The collar and the leash 16 are connected by means of an integral radially extending plastic ligament 18 best shown in FIG. 1 at the proximal end of the leash 16. At the free end of the leash 16 is a fastener, in this case an arrowhead 18 for securing the tether 10 to a captive article such as a measuring scoop 20 (FIG. 3). Attachment can be easily accomplished by inserting the arrowhead through a hole in the handle of the scoop 20. The fastener 18 can have other shapes if desired. For example, it could comprise a knob or a hook or other configuration. An arrowhead is highly preferred because it was found to be secure and can be quickly attached.

It can be seen in FIGS. 1 and 2 that the leash 16 completely encircles the collar 12 and is coplanar therewith in a flat plane 17. Both the body 12 and the leash 16 are flat flexible strips of plastic material which when formed, i.e., before use lie in plane 17. It was found that providing the leash with a preformed arcuate shape helped to hold the scoop 20 close to the wall of a container 12 so that the leash itself would naturally tend to lie close to the outside surface of the container 14. This facilitates insertion of the bottle 14 and scoop 20 into a shipping carton 21 or other package.

Integral with the collar 12 and extending outwardly therefrom is a flat tab or handle 22. The handle is positioned between the ligament 18 and the fastener 19 and extends from the tether 10 as an aid for grasping the tether when it is to be snapped over the neck of the bottle 14.

In a commercial application, the invention proved to be inexpensive, easy to mount, and rugged in construction. In addition, the fastener 19 allowed the leash 16 to be quickly connected to an article such as the scoop 20 by placing the arrow-shaped fastener 19 through an opening at the end of the scoop. Once attached to the bottle, the preformed curved configuration of the leash 16 automatically placed the leash in a position encircling the bottle and thus held it close to the outer surface of the bottle so as to facilitate placing the bottle 14 and the scoop 20 into the carton 21.

Many variations of the present invention within the scope of the appended claims will be apparent to those skilled in the art once the principles described herein are understood.