Title:
Content extractor
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The present structure provides a content extractor including a retention member sized to fit into an inner surface of a container and a pull member having a proximal end and a distal end, the proximal end of the pull member having a pull tab, the distal end of the pull member configured to securely extend from the retention member in slidable communication with the inner surface of the container.



Inventors:
Ponzini, Richard J. (Brewster, NY, US)
Application Number:
11/656036
Publication Date:
07/24/2008
Filing Date:
01/22/2007
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
29/244, 220/770
International Classes:
B65B69/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
CHIN, PAUL T
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Richard J. Ponzini (Brewster, NY, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A content extractor, comprising: a retention member having a first surface and a second surface sized to fit into an inner surface of a container; and a pull member having a proximal end and a distal end, the proximal end of the pull member having a pull tab, the distal end of the pull member configured to securely extend from the retention member; wherein the pull member engages the retention member in slidable communication with the inner surface of the container.

2. The content extractor according to claim 1, wherein the retention member is cylindrical, square, rectangular, triangular, or elliptical in shape.

3. The content extractor according to claim 1, wherein the retention member includes an extended perimeter.

4. The content extractor according to claim 3, wherein the extended perimeter includes at least two extended tabs.

5. The content extractor according to claim 1, wherein the retention member includes a diameter from about 1.25 inches to greater than about 11.75 inches.

6. The content extractor according to claim 1, wherein the pull member includes a diameter from about 0.0625 inches to greater than about 2.0 inches and a length from about 6.0 inches to greater than about 84 inches.

7. The content extractor according to claim 1, wherein the pull member is adjustable in length.

8. The content extractor according to claim 1, wherein the pull member is configured to securely extend from the retention member by a coupling mechanism.

9. The content extractor according to claim 1, wherein the retention member and the pull member are formed from material comprising plastic.

10. A content extractor, comprising: a first and a second retention member, each retention member having a first surface and a second surface sized to fit into an inner surface of a container; and a pull member having a proximal end and a distal end, the proximal end of the pull member configured to securely extend to the first retention member by a pull tab, the distal end of the pull member configured to securely extend from the second retention member; wherein the pull member engages the first and the second retention members in slidable communication with the inner surface of the container.

11. The content extractor according to claim 10, wherein either or both the first and the second retention members include an extended perimeter.

12. The content extractor according to claim 10, wherein the pull member is adjustable in length.

13. The content extractor according to claim 10, wherein the proximal end of the pull member is configured to securely extend to the first retention member by a pull tab coupling mechanism and wherein the distal end of the pull member is configured to securely extend from the second retention member by a coupling mechanism.

14. A method of forming a content extractor, comprising: forming a retention member having a first surface and a second surface sized to fit into an inner surface of a container; forming a pull member having a proximal end and a distal end, the proximal end of the pull member having a pull tab, the distal end of the pull member configured to securely extend from the retention member; and positioning the pull member to engage the retention member in slidable communication with the inner surface of the container.

15. The content extractor according to claim 14, wherein forming the retention member includes forming the retention member having a diameter from about 1.25 inches to greater than about 11.75 inches.

16. The method of claim 14, wherein forming the retention member includes forming the retention member with an extended perimeter.

17. The method of claim 16, wherein forming the extended perimeter includes forming the extended perimeter having at least two extended tabs.

18. The method of claim 14, wherein forming the pull member includes forming the pull member that is adjustable in length.

19. The method of claim 14, wherein forming the pull member includes forming the pull member configured to extend from the retention member by a coupling mechanism.

20. The method of claim 14, wherein forming the retention member and forming the pull member include forming the retention member and forming the pull member from material comprising plastic.

Description:

RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application is a Continuation-In-Part (CIP) of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 077,538 filed on Mar. 11, 2005, which is incorporated by reference herein it its entirety.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This application relates generally to a content extractor, and more particularly to a content extractor for containers.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Conventional containers come in a variety of configurations (e.g., tubular) to protect the content housed inside the container. For example, flat paper products (e.g., posters, drawings, photographs, blueprints and the like) are typically rolled up and inserted into a tubular container which protects it from damage during shipping and handling.

Rolling up flat paper products to a diameter smaller than the shipping container and then tying the rolled item (e.g. by a rubber band) can make it easier to extract the content from the container. However, using such a tying mechanism can crease or kink the rolled item damaging it within the container. Without a tying mechanism, the rolled item typically unravels within the container to a diameter almost that of the diameter of the container itself. When this occurs, extracting the rolled item from the container is difficult and damage to it often occurs in the process of extraction.

Accordingly, what is needed is a content extractor configured to easily remove content from a container.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The various embodiments described herein relate to a content extractor. The teachings provided herein solve the earlier mentioned problems and other problems not stated herein.

The present structure provides a content extractor having a retention member with a first surface and a second surface sized to fit into an inner surface of a container. The content extractor includes a pull member having a proximal end and a distal end. The proximal end of the pull member has a pull tab and the distal end of the pull member is configured to securely extend from the retention member. The pull member engages the retention member in slidable communication with the inner surface of the container.

The present structure also provides a content extractor having a first and a second retention member. Each retention member has a first surface and a second surface sized to fit into an inner surface of a container. The content extractor includes a pull member having a proximal end and a distal end. The proximal end of the pull member is configured to securely extend to the first retention member by a pull tab. The distal end of the pull member is configured to securely extend from the second retention member. The pull member engages the first and second retention members in slidable communication with the inner surface of the container.

The present structure also provides a method of forming a content extractor. The method of forming the content extractor includes forming a retention member having a first surface and a second surface sized to fit into an inner surface of a container. The method of forming a content extractor further includes forming a pull member having a proximal end and a distal end. The proximal end of the pull member includes a pull tab and the distal end of the pull member is configured to securely extend from the retention member. By positioning the pull member to engage the retention member, the pull member engages the retention member in slidable communication with the inner surface of the container.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Embodiments of the invention may be best understood by referring to the following description and accompanying drawings which illustrate such embodiments. The numbering scheme for the Figures included herein are such that the leading number for a given reference number in a Figure is associated with the number of the Figure. Reference numbers are the same for those elements that are the same across different Figures. For example, a retention member 3 depicting extended tabs 23 can be located in FIG. 1. However, reference numbers are the same for those elements that are the same across different Figures. In the drawings:

FIG. 1 illustrates an exploded perspective view of a content extractor in accordance with one embodiment.

FIG. 2 illustrates a perspective view of a content extractor in accordance with one embodiment.

FIG. 3 illustrates an exploded perspective view of a content extractor in accordance with one embodiment.

FIG. 4 illustrates a perspective view of a pull member in accordance with one embodiment.

FIG. 5 illustrates a perspective view of a pull member in accordance with one embodiment.

FIG. 6 illustrates a perspective view of a pull member in accordance with one embodiment.

FIG. 7 illustrates a perspective view of a retention member in accordance with one embodiment.

FIG. 8 illustrates a perspective view of a retention member in accordance with one embodiment.

FIG. 9 illustrates a perspective view of a retention member in accordance with one embodiment.

FIG. 10 illustrates a perspective view of a retention member in accordance with one embodiment.

FIG. 11 illustrates a perspective view of a retention member in accordance with one embodiment.

FIG. 12 illustrates a perspective view of a retention member in accordance with one embodiment.

FIG. 13 illustrates a perspective view of a retention member in accordance with one embodiment.

FIG. 14 illustrates a perspective view of a retention member in accordance with one embodiment.

FIG. 15 illustrates a perspective view of a retention member in accordance with one embodiment.

FIG. 16 illustrates a side view of a coupling mechanism in accordance with one embodiment.

FIG. 17 illustrates a side view of a coupling mechanism in accordance with one embodiment.

FIG. 18 illustrates a side view of a coupling mechanism in accordance with one embodiment.

FIG. 19 illustrates a side view of a coupling mechanism in accordance with one embodiment.

FIG. 20 illustrates a side view of a coupling mechanism in accordance with one embodiment.

FIG. 21 illustrates a side view of a coupling mechanism in accordance with one embodiment.

FIG. 22 illustrates a cross sectional side view of a content extractor in accordance with one embodiment.

FIG. 23 illustrates an exploded perspective view of a content extractor in accordance with one embodiment.

FIG. 24 illustrates a perspective view of a content extractor in accordance with one embodiment.

FIG. 25 illustrates a side view of a coupling mechanism in accordance with one embodiment.

FIG. 26 illustrates a side view of a coupling mechanism in accordance with one embodiment.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

In the following description, for purposes of explanation, numerous specific details are set forth in order to provide a thorough understanding of the various embodiments. It will be apparent, however, to one skilled in the art that the various embodiments may be practiced without some of these specific details. The following description and drawings provide examples for illustration, but are not intended in a limiting sense and are not intended to provide an exhaustive treatment of all possible implementations.

It should be noted that references to “an”, “one”, or “various” embodiments in this disclosure are not necessarily to the same embodiment, and such references contemplate more than one embodiment. Additionally, reference to “at least one” includes one or more (e.g., 1, 2, 3, 4, etc.). Such reference contemplates one, and only one. Such reference also contemplates more than one. When such reference is made, reference to “independently” contemplates any one or more of the “at least one” having the contemplated limitation. Additionally, when “at least one” of the referenced item “independently” includes a limitation, any one of the referenced items can be the same or can be different, compared to the other referenced item(s), provided that referenced item includes the contemplated limitation.

A content extractor includes a retention member having a first surface and a second surface sized to fit into an inner surface of a container. The content extractor further includes a pull member having a proximal end and a distal end. The proximal end of the pull member includes a pull tab and the distal end of the pull member is configured to extend from the retention member. When in use, the pull tab is closest to the user and the retention member is further from the user, respectively.

Generally, the content extractor can be inserted into the container by handling the pull tab at the proximal end of the pull member and inserting the retention member secured at the distal end of the pull member into the opening of a container. The retention member slidably communicates with the inner surface of the container until the base of the retention member is located at one end of the container (e.g., closed end) and the pull tab is located at the other end of the container (e.g. opened end). Content (e.g., flat paper products) can be rolled and inserted over the pull member securely resting on the retention member inside the container. A cap can be placed over the container covering the pull tab ready for extraction by the user.

Alternatively, content (e.g., flat paper products) can be rolled and inserted over the proximal end of the pull member configured to securely extend from the second retention member. The content slides over the pull member where one end of the content fits onto the second retention member. A first retention member is placed over the proximal end of the pull member fitted about the other end of the content. A pull tab is secured onto the proximal end of the pull member locking the first retention member and securing the content between the first and second retention members of the content extractor.

The content extractor together with the content can be inserted into the container by handling the pull tab at the proximal end of the pull member and inserting the second retention member secured at the distal end of the pull member into the opening of a container. The first and second retention members slidably communicate with the inner surface of the container until the base of the second retention member is located at one end of the container (e.g. closed end) and the first retention member secured by the pull tab is located at the other end of the container (e.g., open end).

Generally, the content of the container (e.g., flat paper products) can be extracted from a container by pulling the pull tab at the proximal end of the pull member. The pull member engages the first and second retention members at the proximal and distal ends of the pull member in slidable communication with the inner surface of the container until the content is extracted from the container.

Regarding the content extractor 1, a retention member 3 includes a first surface 5 and a second surface 7 sized to fit into an inner surface 15 of a container 17. A pull member 9 includes a proximal end 11 and a distal end 13. The proximal end 11 of the pull member 9 includes a pull tab 19. The distal end of the pull member 19 is configured to securely extend from the retention member 3. The pull member 9 engages the retention member 3 in slidable communication with the inner surface 15 of the container 17.

In one embodiment, the content extractor 1 includes a first and a second retention member 3. Each retention member 3 has a first surface 5 and a second surface 7 sized to fit into an inner surface 15 of a container 17. A pull member 9 has a proximal end 11 and a distal end 13. The proximal end 11 of the pull member 9 is configured to securely extend to the first retention member 3 by a pull tab 19. The distal end 13 of the pull member 9 is configured to securely extend from the second retention member 3. The pull member 9 engages the first and second retention members 3 in slidable communication with the inner surface 15 of the container 17.

In one embodiment, the content extractor 1 includes a retention member 3 that is cylindrical in shape. In another embodiment, the content extractor 1 includes a retention member 3 that is square in shape. In yet another embodiment, the content extractor 1 includes a retention member 3 that is rectangular in shape. In still yet another embodiment, the content extractor 1 includes a retention member 3 that is triangular in shape. In still yet another embodiment, the content extractor 1 includes a retention member that is elliptical in shape.

In another embodiment, the content extractor 1 includes a retention member 3 having an extended perimeter 21. The extended perimeter 21 takes the peripheral shape of the retention member 3. In one embodiment, a cylindrical retention member 3 includes an extended perimeter 21 that is cylindrical in shape. In another embodiment, a square retention member 3 includes an extended perimeter 21 that is square in shape. In yet another embodiment, a rectangular retention member 3 includes an extended perimeter 21 that is rectangular in shape. In still yet another embodiment, a triangular retention member 3 includes an extended perimeter 21 that is triangular in shape. In still yet another embodiment, an elliptical retention member 3 includes an extended perimeter 21 that is elliptical in shape.

In yet another embodiment, the content extractor 1 includes a retention member 3 having an extended perimeter 21 wherein the extended perimeter 21 includes at least two extended tabs 23. The extended tabs 23 independently take the peripheral shape of the retention member 3. In one embodiment, a cylindrical retention member 3 includes at least two extended tabs 23 that are cylindrical in shape. In another embodiment, a square retention member 3 includes at least two extended tabs 23 that are square in shape. In yet another embodiment, a rectangular retention member 3 includes at least two extended tabs 23 that are rectangular in shape. In still yet another embodiment, a triangular retention member 3 includes at least two extended tabs 23 that are triangular in shape. In still yet another embodiment, an elliptical retention member 3 includes at least two extended tabs 23 that are elliptical in shape.

The retention member 3 includes a variety of lengths, widths, heights and diameters configured to fit in slidable communication with the inner surface 15 of various shapes and sizes of containers 17. In one embodiment the retention member 3 is sized to fit in slidable communication with the inner surface 15 of a container 17 that is a telescoping container 17. In one embodiment, the retention member 3 is cylindrical and includes a diameter from about a 1.25 inches to about 5.75 inches. In another embodiment, the retention member 3 includes a diameter from about 5.75 inches to about 9.75 inches. In yet another embodiment, the retention member 3 includes a diameter from about 9.75 inches to about 11.75 inches. In still yet another embodiment, the retention member 3 includes a diameter of greater than about 11.75 inches.

In another embodiment, the retention member 3 is square and includes a length times width ratio from about 1.5×1.5 inches to about 5.75×5.75 inches. In another embodiment, the retention member 3 includes a length times width ratio from about 5.75×5.75 inches to about 9.75×9.75 inches. In yet another embodiment, the retention member 3 includes a length times width ratio from about 9.75×9.75 inches to about 11.75×11.75 inches. In still yet another embodiment, the retention member 3 includes a length times width ratio of greater than about 11.75×11.75 inches.

In still another embodiment, the retention member 3 is rectangular and includes a length times width ratio from about 1.5×0.875 inches to about 4.75×3.75 inches. In another embodiment, the retention member 3 includes a length times width ratio from about 4.75×3.75 inches to about 8.75×7.75 inches. In yet another embodiment, the retention member 3 includes a length times width ratio from about 8.75×7.75 inches to about 12.75×11.75 inches. In still yet another embodiment, the retention member 3 includes a length times width ratio of greater than about 12.75×11.75 inches.

In still yet another embodiment, the retention member 3 is triangular and includes a base and height ratio from about 1.85 and 1.60 inches to about 5.85 and 5.07 inches. In another embodiment, the retention member 3 includes a base and height ratio from about 5.85 and 5.07 inches to about 9.85 and 8.53 inches. In yet another embodiment, the retention member 3 includes a base and height ratio from about 9.85 and 8.53 inches to about 12.85 and 11.13 inches. In still yet another embodiment, the retention member 3 includes a base and height ratio of greater than about 12.85 and 11.13 inches.

In still yet another embodiment, the retention member 3 is elliptical and includes a maximum length and maximum width ratio from about 1.5 and 0.875 inches to about 4.75 and 3.75 inches. In another embodiment, the retention member 3 includes a maximum length and maximum width ratio from about 4.75 and 3.75 inches to about 8.75 and 7.75 inches. In yet another embodiment, the retention member 3 includes a maximum length and maximum width ratio from about 8.75 and 7.75 inches to about 12.75 and 11.75 inches. In still yet another embodiment, the retention member 3 includes a maximum length and maximum width ratio of greater than about 12.75×11.75 inches.

In one embodiment, the at least two extended tabs 23 includes a height that is independently from about 0.25 inch to about 1.25 inches. In another embodiment, the at least two extended tabs 23 includes a height that is independently from about 1.25 inches to about 4.25 inches. In yet another embodiment, the at least two extended tabs 23 includes a height that is independently from about 4.25 inches to about 7.25 inches. In still yet another embodiment, the at least two extended tabs 23 includes a height that is independently from about 7.25 inches to about 10.25 inches. In still yet another embodiment, the at least two extended tabs 23 includes a height that is independently greater than about 10.25 inches.

The pull member 9 includes a variety of lengths, widths, heights, diameters and shapes that engage the retention member 3 in slidable communication with the inner surface 15 of the container 17. In one embodiment, the pull member 9 includes a diameter from about 0.0625 inch to about 0.125 inch and a length from about 6.0 inches to about 24.0 inches. In another embodiment, the pull member 9 includes a diameter from about 0.125 inch to about 0.50 inch and a length from about 24.0 inches to about 48.0 inches. In another embodiment, the pull member 9 includes a diameter from about 0.50 inch to about 1.0 inch and a length from about 48.0 inches to about 72 inches. In yet another embodiment, the pull member 9 includes a diameter from about 1.0 inch to about 2.0 inches and a length from about 72.0 inches to about 84.0 inches. In still yet another embodiment, the pull member 9 includes a diameter greater than about 2.0 inches and a length greater than about 84.0 inches.

In one embodiment, the pull member 9 is in adjustable in length. In one embodiment, the pull member 9 is adjustable from about 6.0 inches to about 24.0 inches in length. In another embodiment, the pull member 9 is adjustable from about 24.0 inches to about 36.0 inches in length. In another embodiment, the pull member 9 is adjustable from about 36.0 inches to about 60 inches in length. In yet another embodiment, the pull member 9 is adjustable from about 60.0 inches to about 84.0 inches in length. In still yet another embodiment, the pull member 9 is adjustable to greater than about 84.0 inches in length.

A method of using the content extractor 1 includes positioning a pull member 9 to engage a retention member 3 in slidable communication with an inner surface 15 of a container 17. The content extractor 1 includes the retention member 3 having a first surface 5 and a second surface 7 sized to fit into the inner surface 15 of the container 17. The pull member 9 has a proximal end 11 and a distal end 13. The proximal end 11 of the pull member 9 includes a pull tab 19. The distal end 13 of the pull member 9 is configured to securely extend from the retention member 3.

A method of using the content extractor 1 also includes positioning a pull member 9 to engage two retention members 3 in slidable communication with the inner surface 15 of the container 17. The first and second retention members 3 each have a first surface 5 and a second surface 7 sized to fit into the inner surface 15 of the container 3. The pull member 9 has a proximal end 11 and a distal end 13. The proximal end 11 of the pull member 9 is configured to securely extend to the first retention member 3 by a pull tab 19. The distal end 13 of the pull member 9 is configured to securely extend from the second retention member 3.

FIGS. 1-2 illustrate one embodiment of a content extractor 1 comprising a retention member 3 having a first surface 5 and a second surface 7 sized to fit into an inner surface 15 of a container 17. In one embodiment, the first surface 5 of the retention member 3 includes at least two extended tabs 23 that extend upward from the first surface 5 of the retention member 3. In one embodiment, a pull member 9 includes a lengthwise shaft 10 having a proximal end 11 and a distal end 13. The proximal end 11 of the pull member 9 includes a pull tab 19. The pull tab 19 includes a finger opening 20 sized to fit the finger of a user.

The distal end 13 of the pull member 9 is configured to securely extend from the retention member 3. A retention member base 8 includes a base interface hole 4 sized to receive a coupling mechanism 25. The coupling mechanism 25 includes, but is not limited to, a threaded protruding and threaded receiving mechanism, a locking cone mechanism, a snapping mechanism, a tension ball lock/snap mechanism, VELCRO®, or any number of suitable coupling mechanisms 25. In one embodiment, the base interface hole 4 extends a distance 6 from the first surface 5 of the retention member 3. In one embodiment, the coupling mechanism 25 includes a threaded protrusion 27 at the distal end 13 of the pull member 9 and a threaded receiving end 29 of the base interface hole 4 of the retention member 3. The distal end 13 of the pull member 9 engages the retention member 3 in slidable communication with the inner surface 15 of the container 17.

FIG. 3 illustrates one embodiment of a content extractor 1 comprising a retention member 3 having a first surface 5 and a second surface 7 sized to fit into an inner surface 15 of a container 17. In one embodiment, the retention member 3 includes at least two extended tabs 23 that extend upward from the first surface 5 of the retention member 3. In one embodiment, a pull member 9 includes a lengthwise strip 12 having a proximal end 11 and a distal end 13 that is adjustable in length. A plurality of snap sections 35 form the lengthwise strip 12 of the pull member 9. The plurality of snap sections 35 are separable from each other by a plurality of breakable separation lines 36, perforations or any suitable method. Each snap section 35 is breakable from an adjacent snap section 35 of the lengthwise strip 12 to accommodate a particular length of the container 17. The pull tab 19 includes a finger opening 20 sized to fit the finger of the user. In one embodiment, the pull tab 19 further includes a tab snap pin 31 sized to be received by an interface fit hole 34 formed through each snap section 35 of the lengthwise strip 12 of the pull member 9.

The distal end 13 of the pull member 9 is configured to securely extend from the retention member 3. A retention member base 8 includes a base interface hole 4 sized to receive a coupling mechanism 25. In one embodiment, the base interface hole 4 extends a distance 6 from the first surface 5 of the retention member 3. In one embodiment, the coupling mechanism 25 includes a flexible locking cone 37 extending outward from the distal end 13 of the pull member 9. The circumference of the locking cone base 39 is larger than the circumference of the locking cone tip 41. The circumference of the locking cone base 39 is larger than the circumference of the base interface hole 4 and the circumference of the locking cone tip 41 is smaller than the circumference of the base interface hole 4. The distal end 13 of the pull member 9 engages the retention member 3 in slidable communication with the inner surface 15 of the container 17.

FIGS. 4-6 illustrate embodiments of a pull member 9 having a proximal end 11 and a distal end 13. FIG. 4 illustrates one embodiment of the pull member 9 having a lengthwise strip 12 and a flexible locking cone 37 on the distal end 13 of the pull member 9 sized to receive a retention member 3. A plurality of contoured snap sections 35 are formed on the lengthwise strip 12 toward the proximal end 11 of the pull member 9. Each contoured snap section 35 includes two opposing recessed areas 43 sized to receive the finger of a user. A snap section 35 can be separated from another snap section 35 by separation lines 36, perforations or any suitable method to accommodate the desired length of a container 17. FIG. 5 illustrates one embodiment of a pull member 9 having a lengthwise shaft 10 with a flexible locking cone 37 at the distal end 13 of the pull member 9 sized to receive a retention member 3. A plurality of peripheral snap sections 35 are formed on the lengthwise shaft 10 toward the proximal end 11 of the pull member 9. Each peripheral snap section 35 includes a peripheral recessed area 43 sized to receive the finger of a user. One snap section 35 can be separated from another snap section 35 by a peripheral separation area 44 to accommodate the desired length of a container 17. FIG. 6 illustrates one embodiment of a pull member 9 having a lengthwise strip 12 and a flexible locking cone 37 at the distal end 13 of the pull member 9 sized to receive a retention member 3. A plurality of snap sections 35 are formed on the lengthwise strip 12 toward the proximal end 11 of the pull member 9. Each snap section 35 includes a finger opening 20 sized to receive the finger of a user. One snap section 35 can be separated from another snap section 35 by separation lines 36, perforations or any suitable method to accommodate the desired length of a container 17.

FIGS. 7-8 include embodiments of a retention member 3 of the content extractor 1. Each retention member 3 includes a retention member base 8 having a first surface 5 and a second surface 7 sized to fit into an inner surface 15 of a container 17. FIG. 7 illustrates one embodiment of the retention member 3 that is square in shape. The retention member 3 includes an extended perimeter 21 extending from the first surface 5 of the retention member base 8. The retention member base 8 includes a base interface hole 4 sized to receive a coupling mechanism 25. In one embodiment, the base interface hole 4 extends a distance 6 from the first surface 5 of the retention member 3. The distal end 13 of the pull member 9 is configured to securely extend from the retention member 3. FIG. 8 illustrates one embodiment of the retention member 3 that is rectangular in shape. The retention member 3 includes an extended perimeter 21 extending from the first surface 5 of the retention member base 8. In one embodiment, the extended perimeter 21 includes at least two extended tabs 23. The retention member base 8 includes a base interface hole 4 sized to receive a coupling mechanism 25. In one embodiment, the base interface hole 4 extends a distance 6 from the first surface 5 of the retention member 3. The distal end 13 of the pull member 9 is configured to securely extend from the retention member 3.

FIGS. 9-11 illustrate embodiments of a retention member 3 of the content extractor 1 that are cylindrical in shape. Each retention member 3 includes a retention member base 8 having a first surface 5 and a second surface 7 sized to fit into an inner surface 15 of a container 17. The distal end 13 of the pull member 9 is configured to securely extend from the retention member 3. FIGS. 10-11 illustrate embodiments of the retention member 3 that includes an extended perimeter 21 extending from the first surface 5 of the retention member base 8. FIG. 11 illustrates one embodiment where the extended perimeter 21 includes at least two extended tabs 23. The retention member base 8 includes a base interface hole 4 sized to receive a coupling mechanism 25. FIG. 9 and FIG. 11 illustrate embodiments where the base interface hole 4 extends a distance 6 from the first surface 5 of the retention member 3.

FIGS. 12-13 illustrate embodiments of a retention member 3 of the content extractor 1. Each retention member 3 includes a retention member base 8 having a first surface 5 and a second surface 7 sized to fit into an inner surface 15 of a container 17. FIG. 12 illustrates one embodiment of the retention member 3 that is triangular in shape. In one embodiment, the retention member 3 includes an extended perimeter 21 extending from the first surface 5 of the retention member base 8. In another embodiment, the extended perimeter 21 includes at least two extended tabs 23. The retention member base 8 includes a base interface hole 4 sized to receive a coupling mechanism 25. In one embodiment, the base interface hole 4 extends a distance 6 from the first surface 5 of the retention member 3. The distal end 13 of the pull member 9 is configured to securely extend from the retention member 3. FIG. 13 illustrates one embodiment of the retention member 3 that is elliptical in shape. In one embodiment, the retention member 3 includes an extended perimeter 21 extending from the first surface 5 of the retention member base 8. In another embodiment, the extended perimeter 21 includes at least two extended tabs 23. The retention member base 8 includes a base interface hole 4 sized to receive a coupling mechanism 25. In one embodiment, the base interface hole 4 extends a distance 6 from the first surface 5 of the retention member 3. The distal end 13 of the pull member 9 is configured to securely extend from the retention member 3.

FIGS. 14-15 illustrate one embodiment of a cylindrical retention member 3 of the content extractor 1. The retention member 3 includes a retention member base 8 having a first surface 5 and a second surface 7 sized to fit into an inner surface 15 of a container 17. The distal end 13 of a pull member 9 is configured to securely extend from the retention member 3. The retention member 3 includes an extended perimeter 21 extending from the first surface 5 of a retention member base 8. The extended perimeter 21 includes at least two extended tabs 23. FIG. 14 illustrates the retention member base 8 including a base interface hole 4 extending a distance 6 from the first surface 5 of the retention member 3. FIG. 15 illustrates the retention member 3 having a hollowed out area 57 forming an extended perimeter 21 extending from the second surface 7 of the retention member base 8. The hollowed out area 57 allows the pull member 9 and the retention member 3 to lock by a coupling mechanism 25 without the coupling mechanism 25 extending beyond the extended perimeter 21.

FIGS. 16-17 illustrate one embodiment of a pull member 9 configured to securely extend from a retention member 3. The distal end 13 of the pull member 9 includes a threaded protrusion 27 configured to engage a retention member base 8 by a base interface hole 4 extending a distance 6 from the first surface 5 of the retention member 3. The base interface hole 4 includes a threaded receiving end 29 sized to receive the threaded protrusion 27 at the distal end 13 of the pull member 9. The threaded protrusion 27 and the threaded receiving end 29 form a coupling mechanism 25 securing the distal end 13 of the pull member 9 to the retention member 3 in slidable communication with the inner surface 15 of the container 17.

FIGS. 18-19 illustrate one embodiment of a pull member 9 configured to securely extend from a retention member 3. The retention member 3 includes a base interface hole 4 sized to receive the distal end 13 of the pull member 9. A coupling mechanism 25 secures the pull member 9 to the retention member 3 in slidable communication with an inner surface 15 of a container 17. In one embodiment, the coupling mechanism 25 includes a flexible locking cone 37 extending outward from the distal end 13 of the pull member 9. The circumference of the locking cone base 39 is larger than the circumference of the locking cone tip 41. The circumference of the locking cone base 39 is larger than the circumference of the base interface hole 4 and the circumference of the locking cone tip 41 is smaller than the circumference of the base interface hole 4. The pull member 9 is locked with the retention member 3 by pushing the flexible locking cone 37 extending outward from the distal end 13 through the base interface hole 4. Once the flexible locking cone 37 is pushed through the base interface hole 4, the locking cone base 39, which is larger in circumference than the circumference of the base interface hole 4, engages the second surface 7 of the retention member base 8 locking the pull member 9 to the retention member 3.

FIGS. 20-21 illustrate one embodiment of a pull member 9 configured to securely extend from a retention member 3. The retention member base 8 includes a base interface hole 4 sized to receive the distal end 13 of the pull member 9. A coupling mechanism 25 secures the pull member 9 to the retention member 3 in slidable communication with an inner surface 15 of a container 17. In one embodiment, the coupling mechanism 25 includes at least two opposing snap protrusions 51 located at the distal end 13 of the pull member 9 and a snap cap 53 configured to engage the at least two snap protrusions 51 locking the pull member 9 to the retention member 3. The at least two snap protrusions 51 at the distal end 13 of the pull member 9 is inserted into the base interface hole 4 of the retention member base 8. In one embodiment, the second surface 7 of the retention member 3 includes a hollowed out area 57 forming an extended perimeter 21 extending from the second surface 7 of the retention member base 8. In one embodiment, the hollowed out area 57 allows the pull member 9 and the retention member 3 to lock together without the coupling mechanism 25 extending beyond the extended perimeter 21.

FIG. 22 illustrates one embodiment of a content extractor 1 with content 2 inside a container 17. A retention member 3 includes a retention member base 8 having a first surface 5 and a second surface 7 sized to fit into an inner surface 15 of the container 17. In one embodiment, the first surface 5 of the retention member 3 includes at least two extended tabs 23 that extend upward from the first surface 5 of the retention member 3. In one embodiment, a pull member 9 includes a lengthwise strip 12 having a proximal end 11 and a distal end 13 that is adjustable in length. A plurality of snap sections 35 form the lengthwise strip 12 of the pull member 9. The plurality of snap sections 35 are separable from each other by a plurality of breakable separation lines 36, perforations or any suitable method. Each snap section 35 is breakable from an adjacent snap section 35 of the lengthwise strip 12 of the pull member 9 to accommodate a particular length of the container 17. The pull tab 19 includes a finger opening 20 sized to fit the finger of the user. In one embodiment, the pull tab 19 further includes a tab snap pin 31 sized to be received by an interface fit hole 34 formed through each snap section 35 of the lengthwise strip 12 of the pull member 9.

The distal end 13 of the pull member 9 is configured to securely extend from the retention member 3. The retention member base 8 includes a base interface hole 4 sized to receive a coupling mechanism 25. In one embodiment, the base interface hole 4 extends a distance 6 from the first surface 5 of the retention member 3. In one embodiment, the coupling mechanism 25 includes a flexible locking cone 37 extending outward from the distal end 13 of the pull member 9. The circumference of the locking cone base 39 is larger than the circumference of the locking cone tip 41. The circumference of the locking cone base 39 is larger than the circumference of the base interface hole 4 and the circumference of the locking cone tip 41 is smaller than the circumference of the base interface hole 4. The distal end 13 of the pull member 9 engages the retention member 3 in slidable communication with the inner surface 15 of the container 17.

FIGS. 23-26 illustrate one embodiment of the content extractor 1 including a first and a second retention member 3. Each retention member 3 has a first surface 5 and a second surface 7 sized to fit into an inner surface 15 of a container 17. A pull member 9 includes a proximal end 11 and a distal end 13 configured to engage the first and the second retention members 3. In one embodiment, the proximal end 11 of the pull member 9 includes a threaded protrusion 27 configured to slide through the base interface hole 4 of the first retention member base 8. A stop tab 55 is affixed a distance 6 from the proximal end 11 of the pull member 9 allowing the threaded protrusion 27 to pass through the base interface hole 4 a distance 6 of the first retention member 3. A separable pull tab 19 includes a threaded receiving end 29 configured to receive the threaded protrusion 27 at the proximal end 11 of the pull member 9. The threaded protrusion 27 and the threaded receiving end 29 form a coupling mechanism 25 locking the proximal end 11 of the pull member 9 to the first retention member 3 in slidable communication with the inner surface 15 of the container 17.

The distal end 13 of the pull member 9 includes a threaded protrusion 27 configured to be received by the base interface hole 4 of the second retention member 3. The base interface hole 4 includes a threaded receiving end 29 sized to receive the threaded protrusion 27 at the distal end 13 of the pull member 9. The threaded protrusion 27 and the threaded receiving end 29 form a coupling mechanism 25 securing the distal end 13 of the pull member 9 to the second retention member 3 in slidable communication with the inner surface 15 of the container 17. In one embodiment, either or both the first and the second retention members 3 include an extended perimeter 21 extending from the first surface 5 of the retention member 8. In one embodiment, the extended perimeter 21 of either or both the first and the second retention members 3 include at least two extended tabs 23.

The invention includes a method of manufacturing a content extractor 1. The method includes forming a retention member 3 having a first surface 5 and a second surface 7 sized to fit into an inner surface 15 of a container 17. The method of manufacturing the content extractor 1 also includes forming a pull member 9 having a proximal end 11 and a distal end 13. The proximal end 11 of the pull member 9 includes a pull tab 19. The distal end 13 of the pull member 9 is configured to securely extend from the retention member 3.

The retention member 3 and the pull member 9 of the content extractor 1 can be manufactured by any method practiced by those of skill in the art. One such manufacturing process utilizes an injection molding process as described in U.S. Pat. No. 5,047,183 and U.S. Pat. No. 4,381,272, that is hereby incorporated by reference.

With respect to the injection molding process, polymer material is introduced into an injection molding machine via a hopper. The injection molding machine includes a heated barrel equipped with a reciprocating screw (driven by a hydraulic or electric motor) that feeds the molten polymer into a temperature controlled mold (e.g., a split mold) by a channel system of gates and runners. The screw melts (plasticises) the polymer and provides additional heating by virtue of the shearing action on the polymer. The screw also acts as a ram by the axial movement of the screw during the injection phase of the melt. To prevent melt backflow during the injection process, a non-return valve is typically disposed at the end of the screw.

The melt is injected into the cavity of the injection molding tool and then a gas (e.g., nitrogen) is injected into the mold at a higher pressure than the material injection pressure forming a gas bubble inside the material. As the melt cools, the pressurized gas presses against the cavity walls making the surface of the pull member 9 and the retention member 3 of the content extractor 1 free from dimensional variations.

Variations of the injection molding process include multi-shot (or 2K molding) where different materials are injected into the same mold, insert molding where metal components are incorporated and structural foam molding where the melt material is foamed to reduce density.

Another such manufacturing process to form the retention member 3 and the pull member 9 of the content extractor 1 utilizes a vacuum thermoforming process as described in U.S. Pat. No. 4,061,706 and U.S. Pat. No. 3,632,272 that is hereby incorporated by reference.

With respect to the vacuum thermoforming process, thermoplastic material in the form of a continuous sheet or as individually cut blanks is heated to a desired temperature and stretched until it is pliable to be advanced over a mold cavity plate creating a seal. The sheet is then pressed against the mold (e.g., by pressurized air). Application of a vacuum and/or a positive pressure on the opposite side of the mold cavity through venting holes in the mold draws the sheet material into the mold cavity until it takes on the shape of the mold. The mold is cooled until the plastic reaches a desired curing temperature. When the curing temperature is reached and the piece is formed, the molded plastic is removed from the mold for further cooling. In one application, air blows back into the mold through venting holes and separates the retention member 3 and the pull member 9 of the content extractor 1 from the mold.

In one embodiment, the retention member 3 and the pull member 9 of the content extractor 1 is formed from metal (e.g., sheet metal) by numerous types and styles of presses for performing metal-working procedures. One such manufacturing process to form the retention member 3 and the pull member 9 of the content extractor 1 utilizes a press process as described in U.S. Pat. No. 4,321,819 that is hereby incorporated by reference.

In most presses, a pair of upper and lower die members is moved into a cooperating relationship with each other by a hydraulic or mechanically actuated device. The lower die usually is mounted on a stationary bed and the upper die is mounted on a vertically movable ram or slide. Large forces are exerted on a press frame when the dies engage with each other during the metal-working operation to form the components of the content extractor 1.

All publications, patents, and patent documents cited herein are incorporated by reference herein, as though individually incorporated by reference. The invention has been described with reference to various specific and preferred embodiments and techniques. However, it should be understood that many variations and modifications may be made while remaining within the spirit and scope of the invention.

It is appreciated that certain features of the invention, which are, for clarity, described in the context of separate embodiments, may also be provided in combination in a single embodiment. Conversely, various features of the invention which are for brevity, described in the context of a single embodiment, may also be provided separately or in any sub-combination.