Patent No. 20100236113A1: Cover Resembling A Beverage Container

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Today in 2010, US Patent 20100236113 A1 was issued, an invention of Shelagh McNally, assigned to Big Rock Brewery, for his “Cover Resembling a Beverage Container.” Here’s the Abstract:

A cover for hay bales and other three dimensional objects, and a method of advertising using the cover is described. The cover is generally of a size and shape to be wrapped about an cylindrical object having the relative proportions of a beverage can. When the cover is applied to hay bales, round bales may be stacked to provide suitable proportions. The cover bears indicia associated with a particular brand and/or type of beverage, such that the covered bales will resemble an enlarged version of the particular beverage can, thereby providing suitable advertising benefit to the beverage company.

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Patent No. 2124959A: Method Of Filling And Closing Cans

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Today in 1938, US Patent 2124959 A was issued, an invention of William Martin Vogel, for his “Method Of Filling And Closing Cans.” There’s no Abstract, although in the description it includes these claims:

This invention relates to cans and a method of making and filling the same, and has for its object the provision of means whereby a maximum quantity of air may be evacuated from the can prior to the sealing operation.

At the present time beer is being packed in cans and one of the greatest difficulties encountered is that of completely or at least nearly completely evacuating the maximum quantity of air from the can. The failure to uniformly evacuate the air results in lack of uniformity of the contents of the can. In some cases an opened can produces beer of a decidedly fiat appearance and taste; while in other cases, an extremely frothy, aerated fluid emanates. Experiments have shown that this lack of uniformity in canned beer is apparently due to the failure to eliminate or evacuate the greatest possible amount of air from the can during or after the filling operation, and prior to the sealing of the can.

The primary object therefore, of this invention, is to provide a can of such a construction, together with a method of filling and sealing such a can, which will eliminate the maximum quantity of air from the can, thereby completely, or nearly completely, filling the can with the liquid contents only. More particularly, the invention contemplates the provision of a can initially formed with an outwardly distended or dished bottom,

arranged to be reversely curved or distorted under pressure after the can is filled, thereby causing the liquid contents of the can to be bodily shifted toward the top of ‘the can, causing said contents to displace and eject the air out of the can just prior to the sealing of the top of the can.

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Patent No. 3677458A: End Loading Twin Beverage Carton

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Today in 1972, US Patent 3677458 A was issued, an invention of Dickinson Gosling, assigned to John Labatt Ltd, for his “End Loading Twin Beverage Carton,” which is fancy way of saying a 12-pack carton. Here’s the Abstract:

An end loading, twin carton separable into two cartons, embodying folded handles usable in the twin and also the separated mode. A blank for the carton is also disclosed.

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Patent No. 3392879A: Beer Dispenser

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Today in 1968, US Patent 3392879 A was issued, an invention of Eugene Blea, for his “Beer Dispenser and the Like.” There’s no Abstract, although in the description it includes these claims:

This invention relates generally to vending machines. More specifically it relates to machines for vending beer in bottles or in cans.

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Patent No. 3258288A: Can Carrier

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Today in 1966, US Patent 3258288 A was issued, an invention of Lawrence L. Courter, for his “Can Carrier.” There’s no Abstract, although in the description it includes this summary:

My invention relates to devices for carrying containers and more particularly .relates to devices for grasping a plurality of the ordinary beaded-top type of can by their tops and thus enabling them to be transported in a group.

The uses of the invention may be particularly considered with respect to beer cans, although of course cans containing other commodities may equally well be picked up and carried by my carrier. A feature of present day merchandising of beer is that not only are cans used in place of bottles, but the cans are frequently sold in units of six cans, called picnic-packs or party-packs. These units are customarily put up in paperboard containers of egg-crate construction, having a bottom and four side walls and compartment dividers, and having two opposed walls continued upward and bent inwardly to form handles. Unfortunately such unit carriers do not stack particularly well, and being made of cardboard they can not sustain exposure to dampness such as might result from refrigeration by ice or ice-water. Furthermore their bulk when empty is the same as when full, and when discarded on beaches and picnic grounds they make an unnecessary and unsightly clutter.

It is an object of my invention to provide a carrier of flat configuration which will permit the so-called picnic packs .to be stacked one on top of another.

Another object of my invention is to provide a carrier which, when stacked, is substantially flat on its upper surface except only for centering rings for positioning cans in a superimposed layer.

A further object of my invention is to provide a carrier having hooks for lifting cans and flanges cooperating with the hooks to maintain the hooks in contact with the beaded rims of the cans.

Still another object of my invent-ion is to provide a carrier of limited flexibility, capable of being snapped on with a single pressure motion to a suitably grouped number of cans, and capable of releasing one can at a time as it may be called for.

Another object of my invention is to provide a carrier which covers the minimum area of cans carried thereby and none at all below the upper ends of the cans, so that the cans are practically fully exposed for rapid refrigeration, or advertising.

A further object of my invention is to provide a plastic carrier which may be used with cold water to refrigerate cans, and which yet contains so little material that it is economically practical.

Still another object of my invention is to provide a flexible carrier having a handle so constructed and so secured to the body of the carrier that it will normally lie in the plane of the body and yet may be lifted to a carrying position, due to flexibility of the material.

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Patent No. 2707827A: Combined Can Holder And Opener

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Today in 1955, US Patent 2707827 A was issued, an invention of Fred W. Petram, for his “Combined Can Holder and Opener.” There’s no Abstract, although in the description it includes this summary:

This invention relates to can openers and more particularly to a combined can opener and holder.

It is a principal object of the present invention to provide a device which may be efficiently and easily used in opening and holding a can of beer or a can of juice or similar material, the construction consisting entirely of one piece.

It is another object of the present invention to provide a combined can holder and opener of the above type which is adapted to snap on to the upper lip of the can at the end of the device remote from the can opening portion, the latter being resiliently retained against the lower lip of the can with the device intermediate its ends curving outwardly to provide a grasping portion.

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Patent No. 2280336A: Protector For Beer Can Openers

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Today in 1942, US Patent 2280336 A was issued, an invention of Herman J. Maihack, for his “Protector For Beer Can Openers.” There’s no Abstract, although in the description it includes this summary:

This invention relates to protectors for beer can openers, and the like, andy has for one of its objects the production of a. simple and efficient means in the nature of a hood or cap which is adapted to be carried by a piercing can opener so as to overhang the pierced opening within the top of a can and prevent the spray of beer or other liquid outwardly through the opening which is being cut in the top of the can.

A further object of this invention is the production of a simple and efficient means for attaching the protector to the well-known type of piercing opener.

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John Updike’s Paean To The Beer Can

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Today is one of my favorite author’s birthdays, John Updike. He grew up in the same small Pennsylvania town that I did — Shillington — and we both escaped to a life of writing. Though I think you’ll agree he did rather better than I did with the writing thing, not that I’m complaining. I once wrote to him about a harebrained idea I had about writing updated Olinger stories from the perspective of the next generation (his Olinger Stories were a series of short tales set in Olinger, which was essentially his fictional name for Shillington). He wrote me back a nice note of encouragement on a hand-typed postcard that he signed, which today hangs in my office as a reminder and for inspiration. Anyway, this little gem he wrote for the The New Yorker in 1964 is a favorite of mine and I now post it each year in his honor. Enjoy.

Beer Can by John Updike

This seems to be an era of gratuitous inventions and negative improvements. Consider the beer can. It was beautiful — as beautiful as the clothespin, as inevitable as the wine bottle, as dignified and reassuring as the fire hydrant. A tranquil cylinder of delightfully resonant metal, it could be opened in an instant, requiring only the application of a handy gadget freely dispensed by every grocer. Who can forget the small, symmetrical thrill of those two triangular punctures, the dainty pfff, the little crest of suds that foamed eagerly in the exultation of release? Now we are given, instead, a top beetling with an ugly, shmoo-shaped tab, which, after fiercely resisting the tugging, bleeding fingers of the thirsty man, threatens his lips with a dangerous and hideous hole. However, we have discovered a way to thwart Progress, usually so unthwartable. Turn the beer can upside down and open the bottom. The bottom is still the way the top used to be. True, this operation gives the beer an unsettling jolt, and the sight of a consistently inverted beer can might make people edgy, not to say queasy. But the latter difficulty could be eliminated if manufacturers would design cans that looked the same whichever end was up, like playing cards. What we need is Progress with an escape hatch.

Now that’s writing. I especially like his allusion to the beauty of the clothespin as I am an unabashed lover of clothespins.

In case you’re not as old and curmudgeonly as me — and who is? — he’s talking about the transition to the pull-tab beer can (introduced between 1962-64) to replace the flat punch-top can that required you to punch two triangular holes in the top of the can in order to drink the beer and pour it in a glass.
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The pull-tab (at left) replaced the punch top (right).

Originally known as the Zip Top, Rusty Cans has an informative and entertaining history of them. Now you know why a lot of bottle openers still have that triangle-shaped punch on one end.
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So essentially, he’s lamenting the death of the old style beer can which most people considered a pain to open and downright impossible should you be without the necessary church key opener. He is correct, however, that the newfangled suckers were sharp and did cut fingers and lips on occasion, even snapping off without opening from time to time. But you still have to laugh at the unwillingness to embrace change (and possibly progress) even though he was only 32 at the time; hardly a normally curmudgeonly age.

Patent No. 4996823A: Method Of Packaging A Beverage And A Package Structure

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Today in 1991, US Patent 4996823 A was issued, an invention of William J. Byrne, assigned to Arthur Guinness Son & Company, for his “Method of Packaging a Beverage and a Package Structure.” Here’s the Abstract:

Method of packaging a beverage and a package structure has a cylindrical tube 1 over an end 3 of which is located a partition 2 having restricted orifice and both are sealed, for example by crimping, to the rim of tube 1. Primary chamber 4 is formed within the tube and secondary chamber 8 is formed between the partition 2 and closure 7 which chambers communicate through orifice 6. Chamber 4 is charged with beverage 11 containing gas in solution and sealed with end wall 12 crimped to the rim 9 of the tube 1. Prior to sealing chamber 9 is dosed with liquid nitrogen or carbon dioxide so that headspace 13 is pressurized. The package adjusts to a state of equilibrium in which beverage flows into the secondary chamber 8 to form headspace 14 therein. Upon opening of the package with pull tag 15 a pressure differential between the headspaces 14 and 13 causes beverage and/or gas in chamber 8 to be ejected through orifice 6 into beverage 11 and thereby gas in solution in the beverage to be liberated and form, or assist in the formation of, a head of froth on the beverage.

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Patent No. 7882975B2: Double Walled Beverage Container

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Today in 2011, US Patent 7882975 B2 was issued, an invention of Jason M. Kelly, assigned to Miller Coors, LLC, for his “Double Walled Beverage Container and Method of Making Same.” Here’s the Abstract:

A double walled container is provided for insulating a beverage. An outer insulating shell or container is secured to the inner container that holds the beverage. A gap exists between the outer container and inner container and the air in the gap acts as an insulating barrier. The inner container is preferably a standard aluminum container. The outer container is preferably made from aluminum or a plastic polymer.

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