Patent application title: HOLDER ASSEMBLY FOR TUBULAR CONTAINERS
Curtis G. Hartman (Redmond, WA, US)
IPC8 Class: AB65D3556FI
Class name: Special article receptacle support cylindrical shape
Publication date: 2015-03-12
Patent application number: 20150068995
A holder assembly designed (embodiment # 1) to hold at least one but
preferably multiple elongated tube-like containers or "squeeze-tubes" in
a substantially vertical position such that the labeling, directions,
contents and other information formed on the exterior of the tube-like
containers are clearly viewable. The holder assembly includes a
horizontal support to create a closed channel wherein the closed channel
creates a gripping structure into which the closed or sealed ends of the
tube-like containers are inserted. The gripping channel has a sufficient
length to position multiple tube-like containers along the horizontal
support in side-by-side relation to one another. The horizontal support
includes the means to attach the entire assembly to a substantially
oriented vertical surface.
Additionally, said invention, further provided with magnets (embodiment
#2) can hold a multitude of metallic instruments and utensils along its
length that are easily accessible and removable.
1. A holder assembly structure to support and facilitate access to a
plurality of tube-like containers within a confined space or devices. a)
The holder according to claim 1 further provided with double-sided
adhesive tape for ease of mounting on a multitude of surface finishes
(wood, metal, glass, ceramic, etc.), cabinets, or appliances. However,
nails, screws, rivets, etc. could be used to secure the holder to the
surface. b) According to the invention, many types, sizes, and
configurations of squeeze tubes can easily be suspended from the
invention by inserting or simply folding over the closed end of the
squeeze tube and positioning it into the channel formed by the holder.
2. The holder assembly according to claim 1, wherein said holder contains, or could be installed with, multiple magnets (disc, square, strip, etc.) for mounting and attaching of multiple devices and utensils that are metallic in nature (fingernail files, scissors, tweezers, nail clippers, etc.) which are easily accessible and easily removed.
DESCRIPTION OF THE RELATED ART
 The use of squeezable, tube-like containers, or tubular containers, or "squeeze tubes" for the commercial packaging of a variety of products, such as ointments, creams, hair gels, etc. is extremely popular due in large part to the fact that these types of products are easier to dispense utilizing the squeeze tube container. These squeezable, tube-like containers are typically formed from a plastic material and/or a metallic material such as heavy type of metal foil or light weight metallic sheet material, which have sufficient flexibility and ductility to allow the tubes to be squeezed by the hands and fingers of the user. However, such material also has at least some degree of rigidity, which provides sufficient structural integrity to the tube-like container to allow it to be oriented and maintained in a vertical position without collapsing or folding upon itself.
 Containers of the type mentioned above are normally formed by extruding extremely long lengths of the plastic or other material in the tube shape on a continuous basis, wherein the individual containers are formed by cutting or severing the tubes to a specific length. Typically, one end of the cut tube segment is closed by forming a seam, which serves to seal that end into a generally flat, straight-line configuration. The seam extends transversely across the width of the tube. The opposite end of the tube typically includes a dispensing opening, which is designed to be closed by at least a partially removable cap, stopper, or other closure structure. The product being packaged is, of course, contained in the interior of the tube, and is originally provided in quantities sufficient to expand the tube into an at least partially rounded cross section configuration.
 As set forth above, the popularity of squeeze tube containers is attributable to the ease and efficiency with which certain products may be dispensed. However, one universally recognizable disadvantage of utilizing this type of container is the appearance of these containers after a significant portion of the contents of the squeeze tube have been dispensed. More in particular, due to the semi-rigid and partially flexible nature of the material from which such containers are usually formed, the exterior shape of the container frequently becomes bent, wrinkled and/or at least partially folded, particularly when a majority of the contents has been removed therefrom, and must be further bent and/or folded in order to remove more of the tube's contents for additional use. Therefore, in order to improve the overall appearance of squeeze tube containers, as well, as assure the removal of the remaining contents therefrom, it is common practice for the user to fold or roll the closed end of the tube about itself. Such folding or rolling will continue along the length of the tube as the product continues to be dispensed.
 While this rolled or folded configuration may at least minimally improve the appearance of partially used squeeze tube containers, there still exists a significant disadvantage relating to identifying the contents or otherwise recognizing the printed labeling on the exterior of the tube. Since many of the tube-like containers are similar in both size and configuration, it is a common occurrence to mistake the identity of one product for another, particularly when at least a significant portion of the length of the tube is folded upon itself. The mistaken identity and dispensing of products is not only inconvenient but could also be dangerous, particularly in light of the fact that some products such as toothpaste, which are to be orally administered, are frequently packaged in tube-like containers similar to creams and ointments, which would be harmful if placed in the mouth or swallowed, and could result in injury to the user.
 Accordingly, there is a long felt need in the art for a holder assembly designed to store one or more tube-like containers, such as squeezable tubes of toothpaste, hair gel, creams and the like, in any one of a variety of convenient locations. Any such holder assembly should be capable of orienting each of the one or more squeezable tubes in an extended, inverted and substantially vertical position regardless of whether the contents have been partially dispensed or not. This inverted position takes advantage of the fact that gravity will cause the remaining contents of the squeeze tubes to flow downward and collect at the dispensing opening of the squeeze tube reducing the need to further fold or roll the body of the squeeze tube. By keeping a majority of the body of the squeeze tube intact readily expose all or a significant majority of the length of the tube in a manner which will allow the labeling, directions and/or other information to be readily viewed, in order that squeeze tubes, containing different products, but having similar dimensions and configurations, will not be inadvertently mistaken for one another. In addition, any such improved holder assembly should be sufficiently versatile, from a structural standpoint, to support a plurality of squeeze tubes of varying sizes for easy removal, in the aforementioned readily viewable orientation.
 In addition, for the sake of good order, this invention is needed for bathrooms, which usually have a small wall cabinet with a mirrored outer surface door commonly referred to as a "medicine cabinet." This device provides a compact holder and organizer for an array of unsightly tubes and devices that would otherwise be haphazardly and inconveniently stored in the medicine cabinet.
BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
 More specifically, the holder assembly of the present invention comprises a horizontal channel, which is the preferred embodiment, which may be formed of a solid, one-piece construction from a variety of materials such as, but not limited to plastic or metal. The holder is designed to be mounted on a substantially vertically oriented support surface and may have a somewhat elongated overall configuration. The size and configuration of the holder may vary, however, dependent upon the intended positioning of the holder and/or the number of tube-like containers intended to be stored. The holder may be mounted to the support surface in a variety of ways, including but not limited to, by way of double-sided adhesive tape, adhesive backed magnetic strips, nails, rivets, screws, or an adhesive bonding agent. The holder assembly of the present invention is, therefore, readily adaptable for positioning in a variety of locations or enclosures where products packaged in tube-like containers, of the type set forth herein, are typically stored.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWINGS
 For a greater understanding of the nature of the invention, reference should be had to the following detailed description taken in connection with the accompanying drawings in which:
 FIG. 1: A frontal view showing invention 10 (embodiment #1) holding squeeze tubes 30 vertically. Labels of different tubes prominently displayed.
 FIG. 2: A perspective view showing holder 10 (embodiment #1) and double-sided adhesive tape 20 affixed to the backside of invention.
 FIG. 3: A side view showing holder 10 (embodiment #1) affixed to a vertical surface 60 by double-sided tape 20 holding squeeze tube 30 in place with folded-back seam 32.
 FIG. 4: A frontal view showing invention 10 (embodiment #2), showing magnets 50 holding metallic tools 40.
 FIG. 5: A perspective view showing holder 10 and double sided adhesive tape 20 (embodiment #2), with magnets 50 affixed.
 FIG. 6: A side view showing holder 10 affixed to a vertical surface 60 by double-sided adhesive tape 20 with magnets 50 affixed (embodiment #2).
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
 As shown in the accompanying drawings, the present invention relates to a holder assembly, generally indicated by reference number 10, and of the type designed to hold at least one, but preferably, a plurality of tube-like containers.
 A typical tube-like container, which is well known in the art and not a part of the present invention, is illustrated in FIG. 1 and is generally indicated by reference number 30. The tube-like container 30 carries fluid-like contents that can be dispensed by squeezing the container, more commonly known as a "squeeze-tube." As illustrated in FIG. 1, squeezable containers 30 typically include an elongated, tubular configuration having a closed end 31 including a seam 32 serving to seal the closed end 31 in order to prevent the escape of any of the contents therefrom. The opposite end of the squeeze tube 30 is generally indicated as 33 and includes a closure structure 34 having a dispensing opening 35, which may be covered or closed by at least a partially removable cap, stopper, etc. which is represented as 36 on the different squeeze tube 30 of FIG. 1. The squeeze tube 30 is normally formed from a semi-rigid yet flexible material such as plastic, a bendable metallic material, etc. which is capable of being easily compressed or squeezed by the fingers and hand of the user and/or folded upon itself as the contents thereof are removed. The material from which a majority of the tube-like containers 30 are formed have sufficient rigidity to enable them to be supported in a substantially inverted vertical orientation, as represented by the plurality of the tube-like containers 30 shown in FIG. 1. The holder 10 is preferably, but does not have to be formed from one piece, substantially unitary in construction, such as by molding, extruding, or otherwise formed from a plastic or metallic material. The holder 10 is easily attached to a vertical surface 60 by use of double-sided adhesive tape 20, bonding agent, screws, nails, rivets, or other fasteners.
 Accordingly, the holder assembly 10 of the present invention comprises a channel, generally indicated as 11 in FIGS. 2 and 5. The channel 11 is dimensioned in the holder 10 to removably support a plurality of the squeeze tubes 30 in the aforementioned downward orientation by inserting the seam 32 of the closed end 31 of the squeeze tube 30 into the channel 11 as shown in FIG. 3. As the contents of the squeeze tube 30 is dispensed by the user, the closed end 31 and seam 32 of the squeeze tube 30 may be rolled or folded over onto itself and inserted into the channel 11. The channel 11 retains the seam 32 or folded closed end 31 with sufficient force to support the squeeze tube 30 in a downwardly vertical orientation. The channel 11 is of sufficient plasticity and tension as to accommodate several seams 32 or folded closed ends 31 of varying thicknesses and widths simultaneously along its length even though the squeeze tubes 30 may vary significantly in dimension and configuration in terms of thickness, width, height, etc. By virtue of this removable engagement, the squeeze tubes 30 are maintained in a downward, vertically oriented position as best shown in FIGS. 1 and 3. In particular, the downward orientation of the removably supported squeeze tubes 30 is such that gravity causes the contents of the squeeze tubes 30 to fall and accumulate inside the squeeze tubes 30 at the dispensing opening 35, which allows for easier and more complete dispensing of the contents of the squeeze tube 30 by the user. Additionally, this vertical orientation of the squeeze tube 30 allows for substantially complete exposure of the labeling present on the exterior surfaces of the various tubes 30 in order to facilitate easy identification thereof by the user.
 Another embodiment of the holder 10 is shown in FIGS. 4, 5 and 6. In this embodiment, the holder 10 contains several magnets 50 inserted into the channel 11 along the length of the holder 10 to magnetically hold a plurality of metallic tools or utensils 40, such as tweezers or nail files, simultaneously as shown in FIG. 4. The magnets 50 are of sufficient size and thickness to be securely retained in the channel 11 or may be integrated into the holder 10. Now that the invention has been described.
Patent applications in class Cylindrical shape
Patent applications in all subclasses Cylindrical shape