US 20060071119 A1
A rolled sheet material dispensing device including an improved braking mechanism having a pair of outer, opposed brackets hingedly attached to a base or surface, in a substantially perpendicular axis to the base or surface, in spaced relationship to each other, extending forwardly from the base or surface. The brackets are biased to a first position and movable inwards, and removably mount an axially compressible support tube assembly which loosely journals and rotatably retains a roll of sheet material by extending through the center tube of the roll. The brackets can be pushed inwards from the first position to frictionally grip the roll between the brackets, thereby exerting a braking force on the roll to prevent free-wheeling of the roll during unwinding, and to hold the roll in place while a portion is being torn therefrom.
1. A dispensing device for dispensing articles from a roll of said articles comprising:
a) bracketing means for mounting support means for supporting said roll therebetween;
b) attaching means for attaching said bracketing means to at least one surface in a predetermined, spaced relationship, whereby at least one of said bracketing means is movable between a first position and a second position; and
c) said support means for supporting said roll, removably mounted between said bracketing means whereby said roll having a hollow core is received over said support means, said support means accommodating movement of said at least one of said bracketing means between said first position and said second position.
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10. A dispensing device for dispensing articles from a roll of said articles comprising:
a) bracketing means for mounting support means for supporting said roll therebetween;
b) attaching means for attaching said bracketing means to at least one surface of at least one base in a predetermined, spaced relationship, whereby at least one of said bracketing means is movable between a first position and a second position; and
c) said support means for supporting said roll removably mounted between said bracketing means, whereby said roll having a hollow core is received over said support means, said support means accommodating movement of said at least one of said bracketing means between said first position and said second position.
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19. A dispensing device for dispensing articles from a roll of said articles comprising:
a) at least one pressing means for braking the rotation of said roll;
b) a pair of opposed brackets, at least one of said brackets supporting said at least one pressing means;
c) attaching means for attaching said brackets to at least one surface in a predetermined, spaced relationship; and
d) support means for supporting said roll, removably mounted within said dispensing device whereby said roll having a hollow core is received over said support means, said support means accommodating movement of said at least one pressing means between a first position and a second position.
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This patent application references Disclosure Document number 550,403.
1. Field of Invention
This invention relates to holders and dispensers of material in roll form, and, more particularly, to a holder and dispenser with an ability to exert a braking force on the roll to more easily facilitate the tearing of sheets off the roll and to prevent free-wheeling of the roll during unwinding thereof.
2. Description of the Prior Art
Various household and industrial materials are supplied in a continuous roll wherein a predetermined amount of the roll can be removed for its intended use. An example of such rolls of material are paper towels or toilet tissue, which are usually supplied in a large roll and individual sheets are defined in the roll by a perforated line.
Dispensers for dispensing rolled sheet material off a roll are well known in the prior art. Some dispensers are made for vertical use, typically including a horizontal base plate with a rod protruding vertically upwards therefrom. The roll is rotatably supported by the holder to permit a user to unwind the leading section from the roll and tear it off. Removing or replacing the roll generally involves pulling the roll upwards off of the holder. Some models require the removal of a crown that is attached to the top of the vertical rod before the roll can be removed.
The most common type of dispenser for horizontal use consists of a generally U-shaped holder that has a base which is secured to a surface such as a wall or cabinet or in a remote location, such as the inside surface of a cabinet door or under the lower surface of a cabinet conventionally found in most household kitchens, and two outwardly-directed brackets extending from the base. The brackets typically have sockets which receive a support rod or an axially compressible support tube assembly, which is also received through the hollow core of the roll. These axially compressible support tube assemblies are commercially available and can be purchased individually by consumers. Thus, individual sheets of articles can be removed by gripping the free end portion of the roll with one hand and rolling the desired number of sheets to be removed to a point where a serrated line is exposed and a second hand is utilized to grip the roll adjacent the serrated line so that the selected sheets can be removed from the roll.
Exchanging paper rolls in this type of dispenser entail, firstly, the support rod must be axially compressed so that the rod and the used-up roll can be removed from between the brackets. After removing the used-up roll, a new roll is inserted on to the support rod which must be axially compressed to reinsert both the support rod and the new roll back into the holder.
One of the problems encountered in such arrangements is free-wheeling of the roll during unwinding. In order to separate the leading section from a roll supported for rotation in such a dispenser, the user pulls on this section to unwind it from the roll. This results in rotation of the roll. But a common experience when a user takes this action is for the roll to unwind to dispense several sections rather than just the leading section. Inertial forces tend to result in a continuation of such rotation even after the desired amount of material has been unwound from the roll.
Additionally, the user may attempt to pull on the free end forcefully in order to tear it off of the roll, and then with a wrist snap action, tear this section from the roll, which often results in the same continuation of such rotation after the desired amount of material has been torn from the roll. This results in considerable waste and also can cause contamination of the material if the free end thereof is too long and contacts a surrounding surface such as a floor.
Occasionally this forceful pull does not result in a tearing of the material; instead it pulls-off even more sheets from the roll than the user desires, which must then be either wastefully discarded, or rewound back into the roll, causing further contamination of those sheets if the user's hands are wet or dirty. This process is also frustrating to the user, and the physical exertion needed to forcefully pull the sheets in this manner may cause strain in the user.
The other way that material is often torn from the roll is by the user pulling on the free end of the roll with one hand, and holding the roll in place with their other hand when they are ready to tear the sheets off the roll, thereby contaminating the sheets still on the roll with any dirt, liquid, or germs that may be on the hand holding the roll. This contamination may lead to the inadvertent spreading of disease to the next user of the roll. It may also create an additional waste of material if the user tears-off and discards noticeably contaminated sheets without using them.
One of the other difficulties encountered in the utilization of prior art dispensers is the difficulty of removing a selected length of material from the roll. The sheet is frequently torn in an unsightly and wasteful fashion resulting in additional waste of material by subsequent users because there is a tendency to reject the unevenly torn portion of the material and to draw a greater length of material from the dispenser where such a condition exists.
Another issue noticeable in the prior art is that dispensers are typically made either for vertical, unmounted use or horizontal, mounted use, but not both. When a consumer with a counter-top model wishes to change to a wall-mounted model, or vice-versa, they must purchase another dispenser to fit that configuration. This is a financial burden for the consumer and is detrimental for the environment, causing more construction material to be used than would be necessary if dispensers could be used for both vertical and horizontal use.
Some models claim to have the ability of both horizontal and vertical use, but are not really suited for both. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 4,487,376 claims to be adaptable to horizontal or vertical use. However, to be used in a mounted, horizontal manner, the device would protrude from the wall in an awkward, unstable, unsightly, and perhaps dangerous manner. This device would also be awkward to use in its intended fashion while mounted to a wall, and would not suit itself to being mounted underneath or within a cabinet. U.S. Pat. No. 5,938,141 is a vertical countertop model that has the ability to work as a horizontal version, but not in and of itself; instead an already-existing horizontal model would need to be modified with the above referenced invention.
There are also dispensers in the prior art with various designs that are meant to aid in the tearing-off of sheets from a roll, which typically include a separate tearing rod or other protrusion, some of which are static, and some which are spring-loaded, such as Frontgate's paper towel holder that features a “spring-tension arm that adjusts to the size of the roll, allowing you to tear-off a towel with just one hand.” However, models such as these need heavy bases to keep them in place, and often do not work as intended. For example, the user must be accurate in the placement of the perforations of the sheet to be torn against the protrusion for it to work correctly, and often the sheet either does not tear off, or it does not tear along the perforations. Sometimes the device becomes unbalanced in spite of its heavy base. There are some models that use suction-cup means to hold the dispenser in place on a counter-top, such as CreativeWare's paper towel holder. However, users of these devices often still hold the device and/or the roll in place when tearing in order to secure it, which is an intuitive and natural action for users.
Other dispensers in the prior art are designed for one-handed use, such as U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,988,561 and 1,953,349 and U.S. Pat. Application No. US2002/0171003, which can be used as horizontal dispensers only, and have complicated internal mechanisms. They also use unfamiliar means to replace the roll. M. Kamenstein's “Perfect-Tear” is a dispenser that enables one-handed use by means of an internal ratcheting mechanism that locks the roll in place when the user pulls downwards on the sheet in order to tear it off the roll. However, there is little stability to the dispenser except for a weighted base, whereby the device itself may tip over in use unless held in place by the user's other hand. There is also a constant impedance on the free movement of the roll, which makes it more difficult to pull the sheet from the roll, and may cause the sheet to tear-off the roll before the user desires it to, if they desire more than one sheet.
In some conventional dispensers, the brackets are attached to the base in a flexible manner, which allows the brackets to bend both inwards, towards each other, and outwards, away from each other. This allows the roll to be changed by simply flexing the brackets outward to remove and re-insert the roll, eliminating the need for support means to support the roll. However, this configuration does not allow the device to be used for braking the roll, because if one bracket is pressed inwards against the end of the roll, the roll would hence push the opposing bracket outwards, therefore not effectively braking the movement of the roll. Further, dispensers with this configuration may allow the flexing outwards of the arms when the leading section of the roll is pulled in a forceful way at any angle other than perpendicular to the roll, and the roll itself may be pulled off the dispenser, as discussed in U.S. Pat. No. 5,292,083, which discloses a spring mechanism that prevents the roll from being pulled off such a dispenser, for placement between the brackets of dispensers of this type. Additionally, the devices that incorporate this type of mechanism cannot be used as un-mounted, vertical-use models, only mounted. Further, none of these inventions claim braking means. Examples of this type of holder are U.S. Pat. Nos. 4,381,083, 2,091,311, and 3,038,676. Similar devices disclose arms that also flex inward to provide a constant brake on the roll, which experience the same drawbacks as other dispensers that provide a constant brake, whereby the material may tear-off when pulled before the desired length is acquired. Examples of this type of holder are U.S. Pat. Nos. 1,955,067, 1,999,759, 2,049,964, 2,072,519, and 3,116,030.
U.S. Pat. No. 5,149,003 shows a toilet paper and paper towel holder that has only one of it's brackets attached to the base by springs to make it easier to load or reload a roll of paper. Because the other bracket is permanently attached, it could be used as a braking mechanism if a user pressed inwards on the movable bracket, however, it does not mention doing so. It is interesting to note in the above patent that the inventor wants to eliminate the axially compressible support tube assembly altogether, saying: “Another object of the present invention is to provide a toilet paper holder which eliminates the need for a compressible support tube for supporting the toilet paper roll.” Even if the above invention were to be used for braking the roll, it would not allow both left and right-handed use if wall-mounted, and would suffer from the same drawbacks as similar devices herein discussed.
U.S. Pat. No. 6,402,085 discloses a dispenser with brackets that are adjustable to the length of the roll, while U.S. Pat. No. 6,401,597 shows a coffee filter paper support mechanism with a hinged bracket.
A number of dispensers have been devised with various braking means for preventing free-wheeling or over-running of rolls, and some that facilitate easier tearing of sheets from the roll. These take several forms, most notably those devices that apply a constant braking to the roll, and those that apply braking to the roll only temporarily, when the user is ready to tear-off a sheet from the roll.
Those devices in the prior art that apply a constant brake or pressure on the roll or support rod to prevent it from unraveling have the drawback of the paper sometimes tearing before the desired amount is unraveled for use, which may cause frustration and inconvenience to the user, who must then pull-off additional sheets in order to get the number of sheets they desire. The following disclose devices believed representative of the current state of the prior art for these continual braking devices: U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,794,882, 5,758,843, 5,755,397, 5,467,935, 5,249,755, 4,832,271, 4,792,102, 4,720,053, 4,660,781, 4,913,364, 4,248,391, 3,850,379, 3,770,221, 3,516,615, 3,319,855, 2,669,903, 2,254,735, 2,049,964, 1,391,326, 1,187,705, 1,079,524, and 813,128.
Those devices in the prior art that apply only a temporary brake to the roll are divided into two groups, those that apply a constant brake that is removed by the user in order to pull sheets off, and those that apply a brake only when the user is ready to tear sheets off of the roll. These methods provide the user with more control over and ease of movement of the roll while they are pulling on the leading sheet.
In variations that have the brake on until deactivated, the movement of the roll is impeded by a brake, which is a component of the device. The user must remove the brake in order to pull sheets from the roll, whereupon they replace the brake for tearing off the sheets. These devices are complicated to manufacture and use, and require extra and unnatural movement of the non-tearing hand. Additionally, these dispensers cannot be used as conventional dispensers if a user is unfamiliar with or does not desire to use the braking mechanism. Examples of this type of configuration are U.S. Pat. Nos. 4,690,345, 2,749,056, and 4,790,490, and U.S. Pat. Application No. US 2003/0019972.
In variations that have the brake off until activated, in which the present invention belongs, the movement of the roll is only impeded when a brake, which is a component of the device, is applied. An example of this is U.S. Pat. No. 5,135,179, which has very complicated internal means for accomplishing this end.
U.S. Pat. Nos. 6,439,501, 5,799,895, 4,919,350, and 2,540,436 utilize the pulling of the roll to lock it in place. However, they appear to be awkward in use, whereas a user would be required to pull on the roll in a certain way in order to not lock the roll before the desired amount of sheets are removed before tearing.
U.S. Pat. No. 5,135,179 to Morano discloses a paper towel holder with brake. However, the device is quite complex and therefore more difficult and costly to manufacture and use than the present invention, among other disadvantages similar to previous devices discussed herein.
U.S. Pat. No. 5,167,377 discloses a bag dispenser with stopping means that is manually adjusted to the width of the roll.
OXO brand's “Grip & Rip” is a countertop dispenser with braking means and a rotating base. It works whereby the downward pressure of a user's hand on the top of the device causes enough friction on the countertop to prevent the base from spinning. There is no spring mechanism. The problem with this model is that when the user grips the top of this device, in order to simply stabilize it whilst pulling a sheet from the roll with their other hand, the roll gets more difficult to pull because of the pressure needed to stabilize the device, or the roll becomes locked in place, making it difficult to pull the sheets from the roll. It can also cause the user to take fewer sheets than they may need in that particular situation, since the unwelcome pressure on the roll causes the roll to tear before the user desires it to. It also would not work well as a wall-mounted holder. Other examples of this configuration include U.S. Pat. Nos. 4,487,376 and 5,938,141.
Another example is U.S. Pat. No. 4,285,474 which shows a spring-loaded cover in combination with a toilet paper holder. U.S. Pat. No. 5,170,956 shows a Dispenser for Rolled Sheet Material utilizing a hollow rubber ball which, when compressed via an external handle, expands to frictionally contact the inner core of the roll. U.S. Pat. No. 6,357,687 B1 shows an Easily Tear-Off Tissue Holder that uses an internal spring surrounded by elastic. When the top is pressed down, the elastic expands to frictionally contact the inner core of the roll. U.S. Pat. No. 4,369,929 shows a Dispenser for Rolled Sheet Goods with stop means at the top of the housing meant for vertical, unmounted use only.
A further example is Copco's Stainless Steel Paper Towel Holder. Its top can be pressed down to brake the roll. It uses a non-removable internal spring mechanism, appearing to make use of U.S. Pat. No. 4,738,385, by Bell, showing a Dispensing Apparatus, of which Copco's parent company are assignees. A similar patent to Bell's is U.S. Pat. No. 6,478,246 B2, by Fahringer, showing a Paper Towel Dispenser System.
The Fahringer patent shows a spring mechanism in the handle of the device, which, when pressed, frictionally engages the top of the roll. The Bell patent shows a spring mechanism in the vertical post of the device, creating a plunger that enables the top, when compressed, to frictionally engage the top of the roll. These devices need to be pressed down in a mostly vertical fashion, which can be difficult if, for example, an elbow is being used to press on the top instead of a hand, in which case there is less accuracy in the angle of pressing.
Neither of these patents, nor any of the patents discussed above, show a simple dispenser utilizing the inherent qualities of a removable axially compressible support tube assembly, nor the ability to be conveniently and easily used for both vertical and horizontal use. Neither of these patents show the ability to fold compactly and in a substantially flat condition when not in use, nor the ability to work consistently with rolls of differing lengths, nor the ability to be used with limited accuracy for correct operation. The consumer must also use unfamiliar methods to change the rolls in these devices than they are used to with conventional devices. Such mechanisms are complex in their design and therefore more difficult for the consumer to use as well as learn to use.
Additionally, many of the prior art devices are characterized by their relative complexity in manufacture, and consequent high expense. These complex dispensers also break more often than simple dispensers, and are more difficult to repair.
While these devices fulfill their respective, particular objectives and requirements, the aforementioned patents do not describe a dispenser that uses the inherent qualities of a removable axially compressible support tube assembly as the mechanism to facilitate braking. In this respect, the mechanism claimed in the present invention substantially departs from the concepts and designs of the prior art, and in doing so provides an apparatus which provides superior results over the prior art in simplicity, safety, hygiene, function, ease of leaning and operation, control, versatility, storage, environmental benefits, ergonomics, and ease and cost of manufacture.
Therefore, it can be appreciated that there exists a continuing need for a new and improved rolled sheet material dispenser with improved brake mechanism which can be used for easily disbursing a user-selected amount of rolled sheet material for use. In this regard, the present invention substantially fulfills this need.
The teachings of the invention will be described herein below as embodied in a dispenser for paper sheet from a paper roll having a core, such as paper towels and toilet tissue, but it is, of course, not intended that the teachings of the invention be limited to a dispenser for dispensing a particular type of material since it will be obvious to those skilled in the art that other types of household and industrial material in roll form may be dispensed by the utilization of the disclosed dispenser, including but not limited to various paper products, printed material, packaging material, foils, wrapping paper, wax paper, bags, plastic sheet, laminate and other materials manufactured in roll form. In the illustrated embodiment, the individual articles which form the roll are separated by serrated lines or perforations.
Similarly, the teachings of the invention should not be limited to the attaching means shown in this embodiment, since it will be obvious to those skilled in the art that other types of hinging means and methods may be used, as well as other attaching means and methods that allow movement of the brackets to brake the roll. Nor should the teachings of the invention be limited to the particular axially compressible support tube assembly shown in this embodiment, since many variations in size, configuration, and design already exist, and many others can easily be contemplated to fit a particular type or size of roll or dispenser.
The primary object of this invention is to provide a rolled sheet material dispenser with an improved braking mechanism to brake the roll against inadvertent unwinding of an excess quantity of material, and to hold the roll in place while a portion is being torn therefrom. This is accomplished by providing a dispenser having a pair of outer, opposed brackets hingedly attached in predetermined, spaced relationship to each other to the surface of a base or directly to a surface such as a wall, cabinet door, cabinet surface, or other surface, allowing a swinging movement of the brackets from a normally substantially perpendicular axis to the surface, inward towards each other.
The brackets are normally biased by an axially compressible support tube assembly removably mounted between them to erect service positions substantially perpendicular to the surface, allowing the free rotation of the roll mounted thereon. The brackets are designed so that they abut the surface when they are erected to their service positions, whereby the swinging movement of the brackets is limited to an extent determinative of said service positions. In other words, the brackets can only swing inwards from their erect service positions, but not outwards from these positions. The biasing means accommodates temporary inward movement of the brackets towards each other so that the inner faces of the brackets frictionally engage the ends of the roll, whereby they grip and hold the roll in a predetermined position so that an article can readily be separated from the roll. Consequently, there is a resultant tendency on the part of the person utilizing the device to limit the amount of material dispensed from the roll.
The axially compressible support tube assembly typically is comprised of a spring-loaded spindle means comprising two separate sleeves, and having end pins or projections adapted to be sprung or snapped into opposed sockets in the brackets whereby it loosely journals and rotatably retains a roll of sheet material by extending through the center core of the roll. The axially compressible support tube assembly can easily be removed from the brackets for replacement of the used roll.
In operation, the user with one hand pulls the unwound leading section of the roll until a desired length is unwound from the roll, then with his other hand presses inward on either bracket toward an edge of the roll. Since the brackets hinge inward from their erect service positions, the roll becomes sandwiched between the two brackets, thus arresting rotation of the roll and further unwinding thereof. With the bracket still pressed inwards to brake the rotation of the roll, the user then tears off the unwound, leading section from the roll, afterwhich the bracket is released so that it returns to its erect service position through the biasing means in the axially compressible support tube assembly.
Another object of the present invention is to provide a rolled sheet material dispenser which may be adapted for fabrication from many different materials, so that the choice of material and finish can be according to the dictates of style, availability, price and other considerations, being matters easily determined to suit particular conditions and needs.
Another object is to provide a dispenser which generally improves and simplifies the construction and operation of dispensers of the character described.
Another object is to provide a dispenser which, through the use of an axially compressible support tube assembly, facilitates simple, unobtrusive, and inexpensive design, manufacturing, and assembly of the device, since these support tube assemblies are commercially available for purchase and may not need to be manufactured specifically for the present invention. This facilitates economies of scale, and therefore either a lower retail selling price, or greater profit margins for the manufacturer. The commercial availability of hinging and other attaching means that can be used in the present invention will also facilitate these benefits.
Another object is to provide a dispenser which is simple to understand and use, safe, easy, and convenient to operate, and which will give generally efficient, reliable, and durable service. The present invention provides a dispenser in which a paper roll may be quickly, easily, and readily inserted or removed. This is accomplished by using an axially compressible support tube assembly that most users of conventional dispensers are already familiar with in its appearance, use, and operation.
Another object is to provide a dispenser which, through the use of an axially compressible support tube assembly, can be used at any angle without loss of function, including but not limited to a horizontal position, typically mounted on a wall, cabinet, or other surface, or in a vertical position, typically un-mounted, resting on a countertop or other flat surface, without the need for modification or additional mechanism. This provides both environmental advantages and cost savings to the user by his not needing to purchase a new model and disregard the old if he decides to change from a countertop to a wall-mounted model, or vice-versa. This advantage also affords the present invention a long product life cycle, that is further provided by the use of a removable axially compressible support tube assembly, which can be easily replaced if it breaks or wears out.
Another object is to provide a dispenser which obviates the need for any other type of biasing mechanism, by taking advantage of the inherent qualities in a removable axially compressible support tube assembly.
Another object is to provide a dispenser which will work consistently with rolls of varying lengths and widths. For example, the present invention would work just as well with paper towel rolls and toilet paper rolls available in Europe, some of which are shorter in length than their American counterparts. Additionally, the present invention works consistently with the various stages of use of a roll, as its width decreases with use.
An additional object is to provide a dispenser which allows for ambidextrous use, especially when wall-mounted. The user can use either their left or right hands to do either the pulling of the leading sheet or the pressing of a bracket to lock the roll in place.
Another object is to provide a dispenser which folds compactly and in a substantially flat condition when not in use, for easier and less expensive storage, warehousing, packaging and shipping, which is also facilitated by the use of a removable axially compressible support tube assembly. Additionally, the present invention can be fully assembled before shipping and still enjoy the benefits of compact shipping, whereas many conventional holders, as well as others with brake mechanisms, either take up much more space for shipping, or are packaged and shipped not fully assembled, so that the user must assemble it themselves upon purchase.
Another object is to provide a dispenser which affords total control to the user by making it easier to unravel and remove multiple sheets, if desired, from the roll.
Another object is to provide a dispenser which in use follows the natural two-handed motion of a user pulling sheets from a roll on a conventional, non-braking holder. This typically involves the user pulling on the leading sheet with one hand while the other hand grips the device itself, whereby the user stabilizes the device to keep it in place while pulling. The user then grips the roll itself in order to brake the roll, and tears off the leading sheet. By pressing inward on one of the brackets of the present invention, the user first stabilizes the device and then brakes the roll by pressing the bracket further.
Another object is to provide a dispenser that can also be used as a conventional holder if a user is unfamiliar with or does not desire to use the braking mechanism.
Another object is to provide a dispenser which helps to prevent the unraveling of the roll while resting in a vertical position.
Another object is to provide a dispenser which can be partially or wholly operated with body parts other then hands, including but not limited to elbows, forearms, wrists, fingers, or the chin. This is especially useful if the user's hands are wet or dirty, and they do not want to transfer the dirt or liquid onto the roll or the device. It is also advantageous for users who have pain or difficulty using their hands.
Another object is to provide a dispenser which can be operated with less accuracy than other braking dispensers in the prior art, for example in the pressing inwards on one of the brackets of the device. The present invention's brackets can be pressed inwards from a broad range of angles, which is advantageous in situations where, for example, an elbow instead of a hand is being used to press on the bracket, in which case the angle of pressing may not be straight. This advantage is further accommodated when the present invention is used in a vertical position, in that the base itself may tilt forward to brake the roll instead of, or in addition to, the topmost bracket.
Another object is to provide a dispenser which does not need a weighted base or other means to keep it from tipping over when not attached to a surface, for example when in vertical use on a countertop. The pressure from the user pressing downwards on the topmost bracket of the present invention will be sufficient to hold it securely in place. A lower overall weight results in lower shipping costs, and less construction material needed to produce the device, which is both better for the environment and contributes to a lower selling price for the device.
Another object is to provide a dispenser which provides environmental and cost-saving benefits because it helps prevent the user from pulling off more sheets than they desire.
A further object is to provide a dispenser that helps to prevent the sheets from being torn in an unsightly and wasteful fashion.
Another object is to provide a dispenser which provides an enjoyable kinesthetic experience for users.
A further object is to provide a dispenser that minimizes the effort needed to tear sheets from a roll.
Another object is to provide a dispenser in which the user does not need to hold the roll itself to brake the roll, which provides a cleaner, safer, and more hygienic device than conventional holders, and helps prevent the spread of disease, especially if any dirt, liquid, germs, etc. are on their hands, which would otherwise be transferred onto the roll itself, and onto the following sheet or sheets of the roll, which will come into contact with the following user of that roll. This also reduces waste, since some users will pull-off a contaminated sheet and dispose of it unused in order to then be able to remove a cleaner sheet.
A final object of the present invention is to provide a rolled sheet material dispenser that allows the user to first stabilize the holder while pulling a sheet of material from the roll, with no impedance on the roll until the user is ready to tear the sheet from the roll. The present invention allows partial braking means at first, to retard the spinning of the roll, then full braking means to facilitate braking and therefore easier tearing of a sheet or sheets from the roll. This allows the user more control and lets them adjust their pulling and braking to their own personal preference.
Other features, advantages, and objects of the present invention will become apparent with reference to the following description and accompanying drawings. With these and other objects definitely in view, this invention consists in the novel construction, combination and arrangement of elements and portions, as will be hereinafter fully described in the specification, particularly pointed out in the claims, and illustrated in the drawings which form a material part of this disclosure and wherein similar characters of reference indicate similar or identical elements and portions throughout the specification and throughout the views of the drawing.
While this invention is susceptible of embodiment in many different forms, there is shown in the drawings and will herein be described in detail preferred embodiments of the invention with the understanding that the present disclosure is to be considered as an exemplification of the principles of the invention and is not intended to limit the broad aspect of the invention to the embodiments illustrated.
With reference now to the drawings, and in particular, to
The device 10 includes a dispensing apparatus defined by two outer brackets 14 hingedly attached to a surface of a base 12, and an axially compressible support tube assembly 30 removably mounted between brackets 14. The axial force exerted by the axially compressible support tube assembly 30 urges the brackets 14 to their upright service positions, toward their maximum deflection point substantially perpendicular to base 12. The axially compressible support tube assembly 30 is adapted to hold a roll of sheet material 50 thereon for distribution by rotation. The axially compressible support tube assembly 30 is spring-biased to allow for its easy removal from between the two brackets for replacement of the roll. To exchange rolls in this type of dispenser, firstly, the axially compressible support tube assembly 30 must be axially compressed so that it and the used-up roll can be removed from between brackets 14. After removing the used-up roll, a new roll is inserted onto axially compressible support tube assembly 30 which must be axially compressed to reinsert axially compressible support tube assembly 30 and a new roll into dispenser 10.
The dispensing apparatus 10 is illustrated in
An axially compressible support tube assembly 30 is shown in detail in
To initially insert a roll 50, axially compressible support tube assembly 30 is removed from between brackets 14 and the hollow core of roll 50 is telescoped over axially compressible support tube assembly 30. The axially compressible support tube assembly 30 is then reinserted into sockets 17 on the inner surfaces 15 of brackets 14. In this position, spring means 40 biases the brackets 14 away from each other, into their erect service positions substantially perpendicular to base 12, so that the upper bracket 14 is spaced from the upper edge of roll 50.
Thus the reader will see that the present invention provides an easy to use, simple to manufacture, hygienic, reliable, versatile, convenient, economical, and environmentally-friendly dispenser for rolled sheet material.
While the above description contains many specificities, these should not be construed as limitations on the scope of the invention, but rather as an exemplification of one preferred embodiment thereof. Many other variations are possible, such as changing the size of the device or individual parts depending on the application. For example, the length of base 12 can be varied according to the length of the roll it is to be used with. Similarly, the length of brackets 14 can be varied depending on the width of the roll it is to be used with. Additionally, the present invention can be made to be adjustable in length or width, such as base 12 being made adjustable for length to better facilitate its use with rolls of different heights, or means may be provided in the dispenser for changing the position of one or both of brackets 14 with respect to the associated base 12 so that rolls of differing lengths may be accommodated by dispenser 10.
If desired, brackets 14 can be hingedly mounted in a predetermined, spaced relationship directly to a wall, cabinet, or other surface without the need for a base 12, as shown in
The brackets can have overhangs which cover the ends of base 12, as illustrated in
Also, if desired, a device to aid the tearing of sheets from the roll can be added to the present invention, including but not limited to a tearing bar or a bar with a sharp edge or teeth, for rolls that are more difficult to tear from, or are non-perforated, and the unit would still operate in the same desired manner. The edges of base 12 can be used to aid tearing of sheets from a roll in this fashion, when the present invention is in a vertical, un-mounted position.
The brackets 14 can be made so that they are flexible, for example by making them with springy or flexible material, so that they can be connected to base 12 or surface W in a permanent fashion, instead of via a hinging mechanism. In this case, the user would simply push inward on a bracket 14, and it will bend in towards roll 50 to brake the roll between brackets 14. Similarly, the base 12 can be made so that it is flexible, or both the brackets 14 and the base 12 can be made so that they are flexible, whereby base 12 and brackets 14 may be made together as a single piece. In either case, brackets 14 optimally should be prevented from being pressed outward during use, therefore the flexibility should be limited to allow only the inward pressing of brackets 14.
The present invention can be made with many kinds of hinging means or methods. For example,
The present invention can have a mechanism built-in or attached that would allow one or both of brackets 14 to be locked in place, for added stability in vertical, unmounted use, or to have the device work like a conventional dispenser. Similarly, one of brackets 14 may be attached permanently. The present invention can be made with base extensions 64 for brackets 14 to be hingedly attached to, as shown in
The individual parts of the present invention can be shaped in any configuration that suits the mechanical and styling needs of users. For example, the base can be concavely shaped so that it can be recessed into a wall, as shown by recessed base 68 in
The present invention can have its brackets 14 attached to a surface or surface of a base with attaching means that permit other kinds of movement besides hinged and swinging, that still utilize the inherent qualities of an axially compressible support tube assembly, including but not limited to sliding or twisting. As an example,
Alternatively, the present invention can have pressable braking means accommodated in one or both brackets 14 that would frictionally engage a roll mounted thereon, as shown in
The present invention can have decorative elements that indicate what the invention is and how it works, including but not limited to engravings, appliques, raised elements, different texture or materials, printing, color, shapes, etc. For example, a decorative element in the outline of a human hand, and/or an arrow, logo, picture, trade name, text, etc. could be placed on the outer surface 16 of brackets 14 to encourage a user to press there, as indicated by a hand-shaped logo 78 on bracket 14 in
The axially compressible support tube assembly 30 can be made to have a separate cavity within it with corresponding air holes such that incense or other substances with a pleasing smell may be placed within this cavity. In one variation of this alternative embodiment, when the axially compressible support tube assembly is decompressed, the air holes close. When the axially compressible support tube assembly is compressed during operation of the present invention, the air holes open, allowing the smell out. Similarly, the present invention can be made to produce a pleasant sound during operation.
The inner surfaces 15 of brackets 14 can be textured or be given other friction-inducing means to aid in the braking of the roll. Similarly, the inner surfaces 15 of brackets 14 can be textured or be given other friction-reducing means to aid in the free rotation of the roll. Additionally, the outer surfaces 16 of brackets 14 can be textured or be given other friction-inducing means to aid in the stability of the holder while in vertical use.
Accordingly, the scope of the invention should be determined not solely by the embodiments illustrated, but by the appended claims and their legal equivalents.
SEQUENCE LISTING: Non applicable