US 20020083560 A1
A self-locking bag closure device which includes the following:
(1) a center concave passageway under a plastic cone which accepts a folded or gathered bag top into the cone,
(2) several flexible teeth or tines within the cone to provide increasing tension against the the bagtop as the bag is pulled through the passageway resulting in the bag being locked into position at which point the device cannot be moved further due to the obstruction of the bag contents in one direction and due to the tension of the teeth against the bag in the other direction, and
(3) a strong base member for the teeth which prevents the tines or teeth from twisting and releasing the tension.
1. A bag closure device comprising:
a base including a top side, a bottom side, and a central opening defining a passageway;
a plurality of teeth members integral with said base and extending upwardly and inwardly towards said passageway;
memory means for exerting an inward tension of said teeth members towards said passageway in response to an expansive force caused by passage of gathered material of a bag through said passageway in a first direction; and
means on said plurality of teeth members for preventing reverse movement of the gathered material of the bag in a second direction opposite to the said first direction.
2. The bag closure device as recited in
3. The bag closure device as recited in
4. The bag closure device as recited in
5. The bag closure device for attachment about gathered material of bag in order to close the bag and protectively encapsulate contents within the bag, said device comprising:
a base including a top side, a bottom side, and an open central portion formed about a passageway;
a plurality of teeth members integral with said base and extending upwardly and inwardly from said top side in surrounding relation to said passageway,. Said teeth members converging towards one another and terminating at distal end zones in spaced relation about said passageway;
said teeth members including memory means for exerting means for exerting inward tension towards said passageway in response to an expansive force caused by passaage of the gathered material of the bag through said passageway in a second direction opposite to said first direction; and
said teeth members being structured and disposed to permit fast, uninterupted movement of the gathered material of the bag through said passageway in said first direction to quicklly lock the bag closed while reducing the interior volume of the bag to a minimum defined by the contents therein.
6. The bag closure device as recited in
7. The bag closure device as recited in
 Like reference numbers refer to the parts through the several views of the drawings.
 Referring to the several views of the drawings, and initially FIG. 1, a preferred and practical embodiment of the bag closure device is shown being attached to a gathered top open end of a common plastic bag 8. In FIG. 2, the center portion is indicated as 50, the majaor teeth or tines are indicate as 20, the upper portion of the base 11 is indicated as 12, and the center line cross-section is indicated as 5-5 for FIG. 5). In FIG. 3, the major teeth are indicated as 20, the elongated spaces or openings between the major teeth are indicated as 22, the minor teeth are indicated as 24, the minor spaces are indicated as 26, and the structural outer diameter of the base 11 is indicated as 14. In FIG. 4, the structural base relief is indicated as 32, and the angular tine underside is indicated by 44. Note that the base 11 is shown reinforced with a thickened rim (optional) to give more strength and ridigity if desired.
 Referring to the position of the bag bottom in FIG. 1, it is seen that the tines or teeth, major 20 and minor 24, are being pushed out by the volume of the bag 8 and even more so when the bag contents become very near the closure device 10. This pushing force places slight tension against the major teeth 20 and the minor teeth 24. This tension prevents the reverse motion of the bag, i.e. the bag 8 is prevented from moving out of the center bore 50 of the device 10 and the bag contents prevent the device from moving further in the direction of the content. Therefore the device 10 cannot move and this regidity effectively locks the bag contents in place and contents are then prevented from moving within the bag 8. It should be noted that the elongated openings 22 allow the folds of the bag to find room to be squeezed and arranged evenly. Therefore, no build-up of bag material can occur in one or two openings and the pressure is distributed to prevent damage to the bag.
 In a preferred embodiment the device 10 is manufactured as a single molded plastic having both flexibility and memory. Many types of inexpensive polymers can be used to provide the required physical properties. The material may consist of any semi-rigid plastic or composite material including but not limited to polypropylene (low or high density), polyvinylchloride, polyvinylacetate, polyamide (nylon), polyacrylic, allyl butadiene styrene, polyester, etc. The preferred embodiment also includes six major teeth 20 and twelve minor teeth 24 (two minor teeth per major tooth) but the number can be varied to achieve other physical properties required for cloth, heavy plastic, etc. The preferred cone shape with a 45 degree angle (mounted on a flat disc base) can also be varied.
 While the invention has been described as a preferred and practical embodiment, it is recognized that departures may be made within the scope of the invention which is not to be limited except as set forth in the following claims and within the doctrine of equivalents. The claims are given in the next section.
 For a fuller understanding of the function of the parts of the present invention, reference should be had to the following detailed description taken in connection with the accompanying drawings in which:
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a preferred embodiment of the bag closure and lock device in accordance with the invention wherein a portion of a bag top is shown above the device;
FIG. 2 is a top plan view of a preferred embodiment of the device as depicted in FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is a side plan view of a preferred embodiment of the device as depicted in FIG. 1;
FIG. 4 is a bottom plan view of a preferred embodiment of e device as depicted in FIG. 1; and
FIG. 5 illustrates, in cross-section view, the device as depicted in FIG. 1, along the plane indicated by the line s-s in FIG. 2.
 1. Field of the Invention
 This invention relates to bag closure devices intended to secure or lock the contents of bags, eg. plastic, cloth, or paper, so that the contents are protected from insects, dust, mold, moisture and other contaminants.
 2. Description of the Related Art
 When a plastic bag must be closed, sealed, or locked to retain contents and to minimize dust, insects, humidity, and other contaminants, generally a “tie”, either a metal wire or plastic strip, is wrapped around the bag top or middle (either rolled or squeezed together) and the tie ends are then twisted together several times so that the top of the bag is tightened and held together by the metal or plastic tie.
 Two other popular devices are a reusable plastic clamp and a specially designed type of reusable plastic bag, eg. the “Zip-Lock”, which has a zipper type closure permitting one edge to be sealed. For the “tie”, “clamp” and “zipper” types of closures, accidental dislodgement can occur so that the bag opens up and the contents are spilled out or some contaminants are introduced.
 The present invention is directed to a self-locking bag closure device used to tighten and seal plastic, cloth, and paper bags in a manner which is more efficient a and secure than any other bag closure device known in the art, including those described above. The self-locking device is especially useful for quickly closing and sealing ordinary plastic bags in grocery stores, department stores, shoe stores, etc. The device is quickly connected to the gathered top section of any ordinary small plastic or cloth bag and is quickly moved downward to automatically tighten and lock-in the contents of the bag, giving a secure closure with no danger of accidental dislodgement. Accidental pressure, contact, or motion against the closure device will not cause the device to become dislodged or broken.
 By careful manual manipulation, the gripping process can be reversed and the closure can be withdrawn from the bag so that both the bag and the device can be reused or recycled, if desired. To remove the device, the bag top above the device is rolled tight again and the device is pushed upwards until all of the bag top has been pushed through the center hole of the device.
 It is still a further object of the present invention to provide a fast method to seal the contents of a bag so that the contents do not move around in the bag. This is accomplished by pulling the device down until the bag contents stop downward motion at which point the device teeth or tines will place slight tension on the bag itself and thus prevent the bag or the closure device from moving further, up or down. This and other advantages of the invention will be more readily apparent in the description which follows: