Title:
GRAVITY FEED DISPENSING CARTONS
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A carton includes a tubular body for receiving a stack of articles is disclosed. The articles in the carton are movable toward the lower end of the tubular body along the tubular axis of the tubular body. The tubular body includes a front panel and a rear panel. A removable portion is formed from the front panel of the tubular body and is disposed proximate the lower end of the tubular body. The removable portion when removed defines an exit opening through which a first one of the articles is forwardly movable so that the articles are removable one at a time from the carton through the exit opening. An access assisting feature defines a relief opening in the rear panel through which a second one of the articles is backwardly movable to allow a finger space to be created next to the first one of the articles.



Inventors:
Walling, Bradford J. (Chesterfield, VA, US)
Gelardi, John A. (Midlothian, VA, US)
Application Number:
13/260387
Publication Date:
01/26/2012
Filing Date:
03/25/2010
Assignee:
MEADWESTVACO CORPORATION (Richmond, VA, US)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
221/282
International Classes:
B65D5/72; B65D83/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20160016723A PackJanuary, 2016Hodges
20060065702Food packaging comprising clip elementsMarch, 2006Beese
20060278691Shipping and display cartonDecember, 2006Bezek
20060113363Shelved display packageJune, 2006Churvis
20070241171Advertising delivery deviceOctober, 2007Engel
20060022025Article withdrawal deviceFebruary, 2006Beasley
20060038000Stacking display containersFebruary, 2006Sheffer
20030001002Individual beverage carton with a straw thereinJanuary, 2003Haughton et al.
20120321754BEVERAGE CARTON TEAR RESISTANT HANDLEDecember, 2012Block
20070235508Decorative attachment deviceOctober, 2007Linn
20100034871Center-Filled Chewing Gum Product For Dental CareFebruary, 2010Mikkelsen et al.



Primary Examiner:
SCHMIDT, PHILLIP D
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
WESTROCK COMPANY (Richmond, VA, US)
Claims:
We claim:

1. A display and dispensing package comprising: (a) a stack of articles including at least a first and a second vertically aligned articles, wherein: the first article including a first front face and a first rear face, and the second article including a second front face and a second rear face, and being disposed on top of the first article, (b) a carton including: (i) an upright tubular body disposed around an exterior of the stack of articles and including a lower end, and a pair of front and rear opposed panels, the front panel being disposed alongside the front faces of the first and the second articles, the rear panel being disposed alongside the rear faces of the first and the second articles; (ii) a dispensing feature defining an exit opening in the front panel, the exit opening being disposed and dimensioned such that the first article of the stack is forwardly movable through the exit opening; and (iii) an access assisting feature defining a relief opening in the rear panel, the relief opening being disposed and dimensioned such that the second article of the stack is backwardly movable at least partially through the relief opening into a shifted position in which the second article is out of vertical alignment with the first article.

2. The package of claim 1, wherein the exit opening is disposed and dimensioned such that the front face of the second article is exposed through the exit opening to allow the second article to be pressed on through the exit opening to move the second article into the shifted position.

3. The package of claim 2, wherein the exit opening is disposed and dimensioned such that the front face of the second article is only partially exposed through the exit opening to prevent the second article from exiting through the exit opening when the second article is disposed on top of the first article.

4. The package of claim 1, wherein the articles of the stack are of a substantially identical size and configuration, wherein each of the articles of the stack has a height, and wherein the relief opening includes a lower edge disposed at a distance above the lower end of the tubular body, the distance between the lower edge of the relief opening and the lower end of the tubular body being no greater than the height of each of the articles.

6. The package of claim 1, wherein the articles of the stack are of a substantially identical size and configuration, wherein each of the articles of the stack has a height, and wherein the relief opening includes an upper edge disposed at a distance above the lower end of the tubular body, the distance between the upper edge of the relief opening and the lower end of the tubular body being no less than twice the height of each of the articles.

7. The package of claim 1, wherein the articles of the stack are of a substantially identical size and configuration, wherein each of the articles of the stack has a height, and wherein the exit opening includes an upward extension having a first upper end disposed at a first distance above the lower end of the tubular body, the first distance being greater than the height of each of the articles.

8. The package of claim 7, wherein the relief opening includes a second upper edge disposed at a second distance above the lower end of the tubular body, the second distance being greater than the first distance.

9. A carton comprising: (a) a tubular body including an upper end, a lower end, a front panel, and a rear panel, wherein the tubular body defines an interior space for receiving at least a stack of articles for movement toward the lower end along a tubular axis of the tubular body, the stack of articles including at least a first and a second vertically aligned articles; (b) a removable portion formed at least from the front panel and disposed proximate the lower end, the removable portion when removed defining an exit opening through which the first article is forwardly movable so that the articles in the stack are removable one at a time from the interior space through the exit opening; and (c) an access assisting feature defining a relief opening in the rear panel through which the second article is backwardly movable to allow a finger space to be created next to the first article.

10. The carton of claim 9, wherein the rear panel includes a lower end portion, and the relief opening has a lower edge disposed at a higher elevation than lowermost point on the removable portion so that the lower end portion of the rear panel provides a stopper for preventing the first article from exiting through the relief opening.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application claims priority to U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 61/164,710, filed on Mar. 30, 2009, the entirety of which is hereby incorporated by reference.

BACKGROUND OF THE DISCLOSURE

The present disclosure generally relates to cartons used in packaging articles and more particularly to display and dispensing cartons having a gravity feed dispensing feature for allowing the articles to be dispensed one at a time from an exit opening proximate the bottom of the carton.

Cartons containing multiple articles are useful for shipping, storing and/or displaying the articles. Carton users such as consumers often prefer flexibility to easily access the articles inside cartons. To that end, some cartons have gravity feed dispensers which allow one or more articles to be removed while continuing to encase the remaining articles. The carton user tears out a portion of the carton to form an exit opening near the bottom of the carton from which articles may be dispensed.

One example of gravity feed dispensing cartons is disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 2,875,938 in which an exit opening is defined in the front panel near one of the opposite ends of the carton. When the carton is placed on the exit end, the articles inside the carton are oriented to form a stack or column of articles so that at least the lowermost article is exposed through the exit opening. In this orientation, the articles are ready to be dispensed from the carton through the exit opening one at a time starting with the lowermost article. As the lowermost article is removed from the carton, the remaining articles move downward so that the second lowermost article replaces the removed article and thus is exposed through the exit opening for the next removal. A traditional drawback is that when the articles in the stack are in a top-to-bottom flat-contacting relationship, it is difficult for carton users to grasp the lowermost article by wedging their fingers between the lowermost and second lowermost articles. This problem would be aggravated when the articles are parallelepiped objects. For this reason, the exit opening in the front panel extends into the opposed side panels for the convenience of the users to access the articles through the side extensions of the opening. The extended exit opening allows the uses to place their fingers on the opposed sides of the lowermost article so that they can easily grasp the lowermost article.

Although the extended exit openings have been successfully used with relatively small-sized articles such as cigarette packages, they would not be as convenient when the transverse size or side-to-side size of each article exceeds the finger span of carton users. Displaying multiple cartons in a side-by-side fashion could also cause some difficulty for carton users to properly use the extended exit openings. Stores tend to have a limited shelf space where multiple display cartons may be placed closely to one another such that consumers are hindered from accessing the sides of the cartons.

What is needed, therefore, is a display carton having an improved dispensing system. Such a carton should be conveniently used for packaging articles and allow carton users to easily access and grasp the articles one at a time so that the articles are dispensed one by one from the carton.

SUMMARY OF THE DISCLOSURE

The present disclosure in one aspect provides a display and dispensing package is provided. The package includes a stack of articles and a carton in which the articles are received. The articles of the stack include at least first and second vertically aligned articles. The second article is disposed on top of the first article. The carton includes an upright tubular body, a dispensing feature and an access assisting feature. The tubular body is disposed around the exterior of the stack of articles and has a pair of front and rear opposed panels. The front panel is disposed alongside the front faces of the first and second articles. The rear panel is disposed alongside the rear faces of the first and second articles. The dispensing feature defines an exit opening in the front panel. The exit opening is disposed and dimensioned such that the first article of the stack is forwardly movable through the exit opening. The access assisting feature defines a relief opening in the rear panel. The relief opening is disposed and dimensioned such that the second article of the stack is backwardly movable partially through the relief opening into a shifted position in which the second article is out of vertical alignment with the first article.

In another embodiment of the present disclosure, the front face of the second article may be exposed through the exit opening to allow the second article to be pressed on through the exit opening to move the second article into the shifted position. The front face of the second article may be only partially exposed through the exit opening to prevent the second article from exiting through the exit opening while the second article is disposed on top of the first article.

The present disclosure in another aspect provides a carton that includes a tubular body, removable portion and an access assisting feature. The tubular body defines an interior space for receiving at least a stack of articles for movement toward the lower end of the tubular body. The removable portion is formed at least from the front panel and disposed proximate the lower end of the tubular body. The removable portion when removed defines an exit opening through which a first one of the articles is forwardly movable so that the articles are removable one at a time from the interior space through the exit opening. The access assisting feature defines a relief opening in the rear panel through which a second one of the articles is backwardly movable to allow a finger space to be created next to the first one of the articles.

In one embodiment of the second aspect, the relief opening may have a lower edge disposed at a higher elevation than lowermost point on the removable portion so that a lower end portion of the rear panel provides a stopper for preventing the first one of the articles from exiting through the relief opening.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a plan view showing a blank from which a carton according to the present disclosure is formed.

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a carton formed from the blank of FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of the carton of FIG. 2, from which upper and lower removable portions have been removed.

FIG. 4 is another perspective view of the carton of FIG. 3, viewed from a different angle.

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of the carton, illustrating the process of removing articles from the carton.

FIG. 6 is another perspective view of the carton, illustrating the process of removing articles from the carton.

FIG. 7 is a plan view showing a blank from which a carton according to a second embodiment of the disclosure is formed.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DISCLOSURE

The present disclosure now will be described more fully hereinafter, but not all embodiments of the disclosure are necessarily shown. While the disclosure has been described with reference to exemplary embodiments, it will be understood by those skilled in the art that various changes may be made and equivalents may be substituted for elements thereof without departing from the scope of the disclosure. In addition, many modifications may be made to adapt a particular situation or material to the teachings of the disclosure without departing from the essential scope thereof.

A first exemplary embodiment of the present disclosure is illustrated in FIGS. 1 to 6 in which FIG. 1 shows a blank 10 from which a carton of the present disclosure is formed. The blank 10 is made from a foldable sheet material such as paperboard, corrugated board, plastic, paper-plastic composite material or the like. The blank 10 include a first side panel 12, a front panel 14, a second side panel 16 and a rear panel 18 connected one to the next in series. The first side panel 12 is located at one end of the blank and is hingedly connected to the front panel 14 by a fold line 22. The front panel 14 is hingedly connected to the second side panel 16 along a fold line 24. The second side panel 16 is hingedly connected to the rear panel 18 along a fold line 26. A glue flap 20 is located at the other end of the blank and is hingedly connected to the rear panel 18 along a fold line 28.

Along the upper longitudinal edge of the blank 10, a series of top end closure flaps are connected. The top end closure flaps include a first side top flap 30, a front top flap 32, a second side top flap 34 and a rear top flap 36. The first side top flap 30 is hingedly connected to the upper end of the first side panel 12 along a fold line 38. The front top flap 32 is hingedly and detachably connected to the upper end of the front panel 14 along a tear line 40. The second side top flap 34 is hingedly connected to the upper end of the second side panel 16 along a fold line 42. The rear top flap 36 is hingedly connected to the upper end of the rear panel 18 along a fold line 44.

The first side top flap 30 includes a tear line 62 extending across the flap 30. In like manner, the second side top flap 34 includes a tear line 64 extending across the flap 34. The part 38a of the fold line 38 between the tear lines 40 and 62 is weakened more than the other fold lines of the blank 10 to function as a tear line segment that interconnects the tear lines 40 and 62. The part 42a of the fold line 42 between the tear lines 40 and 64 is also weakened in a similar way to the part 38a to function as a tear line segment that interconnects the tear lines 40 and 64. Apparently, the tear lines 62, 38a, 40, 42a and 64 together form a single continuous tear line to define an upper removable portion of the carton, which will be described in more details later.

A series of bottom end closure flaps are connected to the blank 10 along the lower longitudinal edge of the blank 10. The bottom end closure flaps include a first side bottom flap 46, a front bottom flap 48, a second side bottom flap 50 and a rear bottom flap 52. The first side bottom flap 46 is hingedly connected to the lower end of the first side panel 12 along a fold line 54. The front bottom flap 48 is hingedly connected to the lower end of the front panel 14 along a fold line 56. The second side bottom flap 50 is hingedly connected to the lower end of the second side panel 16 along a fold line 58. The rear bottom flap 52 is hingedly connected to the lower end of the rear panel 18 along a fold line 60.

The first side bottom flap 46 includes a tear line 66 extending across the first side bottom flap 46. In like manner, the second side bottom flap 50 includes a tear line 68 extending across the second side bottom flap 50. The front panel 14 is provided proximate its lower end with a tear line 70 that extends across the width of the front panel 14. The tear line 70 includes an arched segment 72 centrally located between the fold lines 22 and 24 and a pair of straight segments 74, 76 extending from the arched segment 72 to the fold lines 22, 24, respectively. The straight segments 74, 76 are disposed substantially parallel to the fold line 56 connecting between the front panel 14 and the front bottom flap 48. A straight fold line 78 extends between the straight line segments 74, 76 to define a foldable tab 80 between itself and the arched segment 72. The first side panel 12 is provided proximate its lower end with a curved tear line 82 that connects between the tear line 66 and the straight line segment 74 while the second side panel 16 is provided proximate its lower end with a curved tear line 84 that connects between the tear line 68 and the straight line segment 76. Apparently, the tear lines 66, 82, 70, 84 and 68 together form a single continuous tear line to define a lower removable portion of the carton, which will be described in more details later.

The rear panel 18 is provided near its lower end with a yieldable flap 86 that is defined by a fold line 88, a cut line 90 and a pair of tear lines 92 and 94. The fold line 88 and the cut line 90 are disposed substantially parallel to the fold line 60. The cut line 90 is disposed between the fold lines 88 and 60. The distance D2 between the tear line 60 and the cut line 90 is substantially equal to, or a slightly less than, the distance D1 between the fold line 56 and the straight line segments 74, 76. The fold line 88 is substantially parallel to the cut line 90 and is located at a distance D3 from the fold line 60. The distance D3 is substantially greater than either distance D1 or D2. The tear lines 92 and 94 extend between the fold line 88 and the cut line 90. The tear lines 92 and 94 are collinear or coincidental with the fold lines 26, 28 respectively in such a manner that they interrupt the fold lines 26, 28 respectively.

The term “fold line” as used in this disclosure refers to a score line, a perforation, a line of short slits/cuts, a line of half-cuts, a printed line, any combination thereof or the like. The term “tear line” as used in this disclosure refers to a perforation, a line of short slits/cuts, a line of half-cuts, a single half-cut, any combination thereof or the like. Weakening of a fold line such as the fold line 38 may be achieved, for example, by increasing the length of each short slit/cut/half-cut along the part 38a or by decreasing the number of nicks along the part 38a. The fold line 42 may be weakened in a similar way.

The above blank 10 may be formed into a package or loaded carton following an exemplary process described below. First, the blank 10 is folded along the fold lines 24 and 28 to secure the glue flap 20 to the inside surface of the first side panel 12. Glue or any other known securing means may be used to secure the two panels 12, 20 together. This allows the blank 10 to take the form of a flat tubular carton. The flat carton is then expanded to take the form of a tubular carton whose bottom is then closed by the bottom end closure flaps. More specifically, the side bottom end flaps 46 and 50 are folded along their respective fold lines 54, 58 and then the front and rear bottom flaps 48 and 50 are folded along the fold lines 56, 60. The front and rear bottom flaps 48, 52 are secured to the outside surface of the side bottom flaps 46, 50 to complete the closing of the bottom of the tubular carton. In other words, the bottom end closure flaps 46, 48, 50 and 52 together form a bottom end closure structure for closing the bottom of the carton. Upon formation of the bottom end closure structure, the tear lines 66, 68 are aligned with each other to extend along a single notional line. The front and rear bottom flaps 48, 52, preferably, are not secured to each other while their respective free end edges 96, 97 are in mutual abutment or disposed in a spaced parallel relationship.

After the bottom is closed, the carton is loaded with articles. In this example, the carton is loaded with a plurality of articles of substantially the same size and configuration. The articles “P” shown in FIGS. 3 to 6 are rectangular parallelepiped objects or packages. The articles are loaded into the carton through the open top of the carton and form a stack or column of articles inside the carton. The top end closure flaps 30, 32, 34 and 36 are then folded to form a top end closure structure which closes the top of the carton. Upon formation of the top end closure structure, the tear lines 62, 64 are aligned with each other to extend along a single notional line. The front and rear top flaps 32, 36, preferably, are not secured to each other while their respective free end edges 98, 99 are in mutual abutment or disposed in a spaced parallel relationship.

The loaded carton 100 resulting from the above package forming process is shown in FIG. 2. The loaded carton or complete package 100 includes an upright tubular body 102 having a front and rear opposed panels 14, 18 and a pair of side panels 12, 16. The upper and lower ends of the tubular body 102 are closed by the top and bottom end closure structures. The top end closure structure includes an upper removable portion that is provided by the front top flap 32 and the respective portions of the underlying side top flaps 30, 34. The upper removable portion may be detached from the carton 100 along the tear lines 62, 38a, 40, 42a and 64. FIG. 3 shows an article-replenishing opening 106 formed in the top end closure structure by detaching the upper removable portion. The opening 106 allows the carton 100 to be re-loaded or replenished with articles after at least some of the originally packaged articles have been dispensed from the carton 100.

The bottom end closure structure includes a lower removable portion 108 that is provided by the front bottom flap 48, the respective portions of the side bottom flaps 46, 50 and the respective lower end portions of the front, first side and second side panels 14, 12, 16. The lower removable portion 108 may be detached from the carton 100 along the tear lines 66, 82, 70, 84, 68 (FIG. 1) by using the foldable tab 80. The foldable tab 80 may be either pressed or pulled from outside of the carton 100 to detach it from the front panel 14 along the arched segment 72. FIGS. 3 through 6 show an exit opening 110 formed at the lower end of the carton 100 by detaching the lower removable portion 108 from the carton 100.

In the interior space of the tubular body 102, there received is a stack or column of rectangular, parallelepiped articles “P”. In the tubular body 102, the articles “P” are disposed in a top-to-bottom, close contacting relationship. Each article “P” has a height “H” (FIG. 4) that is substantially less than either its length or its width. Each article “P” has upper and lower faces, front and rear opposed faces and first and second opposed side faces. The stack of articles “P” are oriented with respect to the carton 100 such that the front panel 14 is disposed alongside the front faces of the articles, the rear panel 18 is disposed alongside the rear faces of the articles “P”, the first side panel 12 is disposed alongside the first side faces of the articles and the second side panel 16 is disposed alongside the second side faces of the articles “P”. The lowermost article “P1” in the stack rests on the bottom closure structure. The tubular body 102 has a cross section that is of a configuration substantially the same as that of the upper and lower faces of each article “P”. The cross section of the tubular body 102 is of a size that is substantially the same as or slightly less than that of each article “P”. As a result, the articles “P” are downwardly movable along the tubular axis X-X (FIG. 2) toward the bottom of the carton as the lowermost article “P1” is dispensed from the carton 100 through the exit opening 110.

The exit opening 110 extends across the width “W1” (FIG. 3) of the front panel 14 and further extends into both the first and second side panels 12, 16. In the illustrated embodiment, the detachment of the lower removable portion removes a nearly half of the bottom end closure structure and therefore a part of the exit opening 110 also extends into the bottom end closure structure. Referring to FIGS. 1 and 4, the distance “D1” is greater than the height “H” of each article “P”. Therefore, the exit opening 110 fully exposes the front face of the lowermost article “P1” as shown in FIGS. 3 and 4 and allows the lowermost article “P1” to exit therethrough when the article “P1” is pulled forward by a user. The exit opening 110 further extends upward to its upper end 112 to expose a part of the front face of the second lowermost article “P2”. The part of the exit opening 110 for exposing the second lowermost article will hereinafter be referred to as “the upper extension” of the exit opening 110. The distance “D4” (FIG. 4) between the upper end 112 of the exit opening 110 and the bottom of the carton is greater than the height “H” of each article and preferably less than twice the height “H” of each article although it may be greater than twice the height “H”. The distance “D1” is less than the distance “D4”. The distance “D1” is preferably less than twice the height “H” of each article so that the second lowermost article “P2” is prevented from exiting through the exit opening 110 as long as it remains at the second lowermost position as shown in FIGS. 3 and 4.

The yieldable flap 86 is positioned such that it defines a relief opening 114 in the rear panel 18 when it is folded out of the plane of the rear panel 18. In the embodiment of FIGS. 1 to 6, the yieldable flap 86 is almost freely swingable about the fold line 88 since the cut line 90 is a single slit having no nick or interruption. In this embodiment, the tear lines 92 and 94 may be slits having no nick or frangible lines each having only a few nicks. The yieldable flap 86 is provided to define the relief opening 114 in the rear panel as well as to close such an opening 114 when the opening 114 is not used. The relief opening 114 is located at a position transversely across the tubular structure 102 from the upper extension of the exit opening 110 defined by the arched segment 72. More specifically, the lower end of the relief opening 114 along the cut line 90 is at the distance D2 above the carton bottom. The distance D2 may be equal to, or less than, the height of each article “P”. Such an arrangement prevents the lowermost article “P1” from exiting, or even slightly moved, through the relief opening 114. The upper end of the relief opening 114 is located at the distance D3 above the bottom of the carton 100. The distance D3 is greater than twice the height “H” of each article “P” and preferably less than three times the height “H” of each article “P”. The yieldable flap 86 extends entirely across the width “W2” of the rear panel 18 so that the relief opening 114 also extends entirely across the width “W2” of the rear panel 18. In other words, the relief opening 114 is provided to allow at least the second lowermost article “P2” to be moved backward to project partially out of the rear panel 18 through the relief opening 114. The yieldable flap 86 swings open as shown in FIG. 6 when pushed by the article “P2” from the inside of the carton 100. Backward movement of the second lowermost article “P2” takes it to a shifted position wherein the second lowermost article “P2” is out of alignment with the lowermost article “P1”. When the second lowermost article “P2” is in the shifted position, a finger space is created in front of the second lowermost article “P2” and thereby the upper face of the lowermost article “P1” becomes accessible by a carton user. The carton user may insert his finger(s) into the finger space through the exit opening 110 and thereby easily place his finger(s) on the upper face of the lowermost article “P1” in order to grasp the lowermost article “P1”. The feature of the carton provided by the yieldable flap 86 and other part of the carton is herein after referred to as an access assisting feature for the illustration purpose.

To use the carton 100 as an article dispenser, the carton 10 is placed on its bottom end closure structure so that the tubular body 102 stands upright with the lower removable portion 108 at the bottom. The foldable tab 80 is utilized to remove the lower removable portion 108 from the carton 100. When removed, the lower removable portion 108 defines the exit opening 110 through which the respective front faces of the lowermost and second lowermost articles “P1” and “P2” are exposed. The front face of the lowermost article “P1” in particular is fully exposed through the exit opening 110 so that the lowermost article “P1” is ready for removal from the carton 100 through the exit opening 110. The opposed side faces of the lowermost article “P1” are also exposed partially through the exit opening 110, as shown in FIGS. 3 and 4. Therefore, carton users may grasp the lowermost article “P1” by placing their fingers on the opposed side faces for the purpose of removing it from the carton.

Alternatively, the access assisting feature may be used to remove the articles from the carton 100. To use the access assisting feature, the front face of the second lowermost article “P2” may be accessed through the upper extension of the exit opening 110. More specifically, the second lowermost article “P2” is pushed on through the exit opening 110 and is thereby moved backward to a shifted position wherein the second lowermost article “P2” is out of vertical alignment with the lowermost article “P1” (and with the other articles) and projects partially out of the rear panel 18 through the relief opening 114. This is best shown in FIGS. 5 and 6. The shifting of the second lowermost article “P2” allows a finger space “F” (FIG. 6) to be created immediately above the lowermost article “P1” so that a forward end portion of the upper face of the lowermost article “P1” is exposed and accessible through the exit opening 110. This in turn allows carton users to grasp the lowermost article “P1” by exposed upper face of the lowermost article “P1” to pull the lowermost article “P1” out of the carton through the exit opening 110. FIGS. 5 and 6 further shows the lowermost article “P1” as having been pulled (or moved forward) to be partially out of the carton 100 through the exit end 110. It should be noted that the pulling action (or forward movement) of the lowermost article “P1” causes the second lowermost article “P2” (that has been in the shifted position) to be also moved forward, due to friction, along with the lowermost article “P1” so that the second lowermost article “P2” will be placed back into the carton 100 by the time the lowermost article “P1” is fully removed from the carton. When the second lowermost article “P2” is fully received in the carton 100 again, it moves downward due to gravity to take the lowermost position. Once the second lowermost article “P2” takes the lowermost position, it may be pulled out of the carton 100 to allow the third lowermost article to gravity feed into the lowermost position.

FIG. 7 shows a second exemplary embodiment of the present disclosure. A blank 210 is substantially similar to the blank 10 of the first embodiment, with the notable differences between the blanks including features for connecting the yieldable flap to the rear panel. For the first and second embodiments, like references are used to identify like elements. For the second embodiment, elements that have already been described in detail for the first embodiment will generally not be described in further detail unless such a description is useful for understanding. Rather, the description of the second embodiment will focus on the unique features thereof.

The carton 210 of the second embodiment has a yieldable flap 200 that differs from that of the first embodiment. Although being also formed from the rear panel 18 around its lower end area, the yieldable flap 200 is defined by a fold line 204, a tear line 202 and a pair of tear lines 206, 208. The tear lines 202, 206 and 208 substantially connect the yieldable flap 200 to the rear panel 18 instead of allowing the flap 200 to be almost freely swingable about the fold line 204. To this end, each of the tear lines 202, 206 and 208 include substantial number of nicks. These tear lines 202, 206, 208 are designed to be broken by store clerks before the carton (formed from the blank 210) is displayed on a shelf The fold line 204 is disposed at a location higher than the corresponding fold line 88 in the first embodiment. Stated differently, the distance D5 between the tear line 60 and the fold line 204 is substantially greater than twice the height “H” of each article “P” and almost as great as three times the height of each article “P”. Such a location of the fold line facilitates swinging movement of the yieldable flap 200 when the yieldable flap 200 is pushed by a second lowermost article from the inside of the carton.

The yieldable flap 200 is further characterized by its beveled shoulders 211 and 212. These shoulders 211 and 212 allow complementary portions 214 and 216 of the rear panel 18 to remain integral with the rear panel 18 so that the complementary portions 214 and 216 can serve as stoppers for preventing a third lowermost article from being moved backward out of the rear panel.

The present disclosure has been illustrated in relation to a particular embodiment which is intended in all respects to be illustrative rather than restrictive. For example, as used herein, directional references such as “top”, “base”, “bottom”, “end”, “side”, “inner”, “outer”, “upper”, “middle”, “lower”, “front”, “rear” and “back” do not limit the respective panels of the carton to such orientation, but merely serve to distinguish these panels from one another. Furthermore, the various embodiments demonstrate that the top, sides, and bottom panels may be hingedly connected to one another and secured into a tubular form in any order that provides a front panel opposing a rear panel and opposing side panels. Any reference to a hinged connection should not be construed as necessarily referring to a junction including a single hinge only; indeed, it is envisaged that a hinged connection can be formed from one or more potentially disparate means for hingedly connecting materials. Although the exemplary carton preferably have an exit opening extending from the bottom (or the bottom closure structure) of the carton, it should be readily understood that alternative exit opening may be spaced above the bottom of the carton. In such an alternative arrangement, the articles stored in the carton may be dispensed staring with the second or even third lowermost article. While the second or third lowermost article is dispensed the lower adjoining article remains received in the carton to facilitate less frictional exiting movement of the second or third lowermost article.

While the disclosure has been described by reference to various specific embodiments, it should be understood that numerous changes may be made within the spirit and scope of the inventive concepts described. It is intended that the disclosure not be limited to the described embodiments, but will have full scope defined by the language of the following claims