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Publication numberUS2548255 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateApr 10, 1951
Filing dateJan 6, 1947
Priority dateJan 6, 1947
Publication numberUS 2548255 A, US 2548255A, US-A-2548255, US2548255 A, US2548255A
InventorsEdward P Cressler
Original AssigneeEdward P Cressler
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Single-use toothbrush
US 2548255 A
Abstract  available in
Previous page
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

April 10, 1951 E. P. cREssLl-:R 2,548,255

SINGLE-USE TOOTHBRUSH Filed Jan. 6,-194'7 :I E Tlcli www ,H/J5 my W/ ATTORNEYS.

Patented Apr. 10, 1951 UNITED STATES FATENT OFFICE 3 Claims.

This invention is a novel single-use toothbrush, that is, a toothbrush so constructed and composed that after wetting for the first practical use of the brush it shortly becomes inoperative by disintegration or lack of operative interconnection between its parts, requiring the brush to be discarded, for the substitution of another brush for the next tooth cleansing operation. Such an article of manufacture possesses decided sanitary and other advantages, being of particular use for travel or other special purposes, avoidingthe necessity of thoroughly washing out the toothbrush and then encasing and packing it in a manner to permit its drying and to protect adjacent packed articles from wetting by the used toothbrush. In my prior Patent No. 2,265,102 of December 2, 1941, is disclosed a construction of toothbrush adapted for single-use purposes, the present invention being an improvement thereon in various respects.

The general object of the present invention is to afford a single-use toothbrush of effective character and structure, the brush comprising a combined handle and bristled head, at least the head of which becomes useless after a single wetting and use by reason of being inoperative because of the disintegration or loosening of the elements includingthe bristles. A particular object is to afford a toothbrush of the class referred to comprising a separately formed bristled head applicable to and removable from the handle for the purposes of renewal; the head being readily applicable and detachable for discarding, so that the user need carry only the handle element of the toothbrush along with a small supply of renewable head elements, thus providing a highly sanitary eifective and convenient system.

A further special object of the present invention is to afford a single-use toothbrush which is provided, in an effective and practical manner, with an adequate supply of a powdery dentifrice, previously applied in an effective manner upon the bristles of the renewable heads; thus dispensing with the need of the traveler or other user carrying a container or separate supply of dentifrice material.

A still further object of the present invention is to alford an improved construction of renewable head for a single-use toothbrush, having the advantage of effectiveness in use and inexpensiveness in manufacture; the bristles being preferably in the form of prongs or tongues of flexible sheet material of the same general character as those shown in said prior patent.

A further object of the invention is to provide a toothbrush having a Specially shaped handle member, the elongated shank of which is molded or formed with a deep notch, adapted to receive the thumb or finger during brush operations and of such conformation as -greatly tofacilitate the known mode of brushing of teeth which may be described as the rotary sweeping action. In one instance of that mode, each cleans-l ing stroke is begun with the bristles inclined backwardly, from their free to their anchored ends, at approximately 45, but the brush land head being progressively rotated or tilted during each stroke through a substantial angle, ap-H proaching 45, s0 as to end the stroke more nearly parallel to the face of the teeth during the advancing motion, thus to give maximum access and penetration of the bristles to reach all parts of the spaces between the teeth, for the best re-` moval of foreign matter therefrom.

Further objects and advantages will be exi plained in describing several illustrative embodiments of the invention or will be understood. To the attainment of such objects and advantages the invention consists in the novel toothbrush and features of construction, combination, arrangement and method herein disclosed.

In the accompanying drawings Fig. 1 shows what may be considered a front view of a complete single-usetoothbrush embodying the present invention, with the head end of the toothbrush at the left and with the head bristles pointing toward the observer. Fig. 2 is a lefthand elevation of the toothbrush shown in Fig. 1 and Fig. 3 is a side elevation of the same with the bristles pointing downwardly. Fig. 4 on an enlarged scale is a transverse section View taken through the head end of the brush, for example on section line i-Jl of Fig. 1, showing more clearly the relation between the head end of the handle and the removable head member and indicating how the latter when slid endwise into position is held firmly between the undercut side portions of the handle end.

Fig. 5 is an inclined perspective View of the toothbrush of Figs. l to 4, the tail end of the handle being omitted, as well as the removable head at the left end; this view diiTering from Fig. l in that the brush is tilted or rotated about 45 toward the observer, thus to give a View of the article from the direction indicated by the arrow 5 in Fig. 2, for the purpose of showing the full extent of the thumb or linger notch in the i handle provided to assist 45 rotary sweeping action of the article. Fig. 6 is a cross-sectional View taken cn line 6-6 of Figs. 1 or 5.

Fig. 7 on an enlarged scale shows an end view of the head member, comprising the prong type of bristles and the means for uniting or clamping the lower ends of the prong pieces in the body of the removable head. Fig. 8 in perspective view shows a detached one of the blocks or filler pieces interposed between the prong pieces in the body portion of the removable head. Fig. 9 similarly shows a single one of the prong bristle pieces or sheets, many of which are assembled with the filler pieces to build up the head. Fig. 10 shows a suitable form of uniting means or staple available to clamp together an assembly of the prong members and disintegratable filler pieces. Fig. 11 in side View shows a short extent of the full assembly of spaced nller pieces, with prong pieces between them, several in each group, and with staple inserted through the same.

Fig. 12 is a View like Fig. 9 but showing a modification of a single prong piece wherein the previously sharp apexes of the prongs have been blunted or rounded to soften the harshness of the brushing operation, which may be done by means of a softening action, during manufacture, causing a slight shortening and thickening of the prong tips. Fig. 13 in edge view shows several of such modified prong pieces in clamped groups.

Fig. 14 shows another modification of prong piece, in face view, wherein each prong is vertically slitted, thus to subdivide it into a plurality of relatively narrow individual bristles of differing lengths. Fig. 15 on a larger scale is a variation of the modification of Fig. 14, wherein the slits of Fig. 14 are replaced by open slots, converting each prong into a series of ve slightly separated individual but united bristles.

Fig. 16 is a face view showing a preferred step in the production of prong pieces such as those of Fig. 9, wherein a single strip of the sheet material of which the prongs are made is cut progressively, during travel, by means of serrated cuts along the center of the strip and separating cuts extending to the margins, thereby to form at high speed and low cost large quantities of individual prong pieces, perforated and notched in readiness to be assembled as parts of removable heads according to this invention.

Referring to the illustrative details of structure shown in the drawings, the toothbrush handle 20 comprises the customary shank 2 I, with a narrowed extent or neck 22 between the shank and the head end 23 of the handle. Each portion of the handle is characterized by certain features of novelty as will be described, the handle asa whole being preferably unitary and composed for example of molded and set plastic material.

The handle head end 23 is characterized by the provision of longitudinal side flanges 24 which form a pair and are undercut to enclose a longitudinal pocket or way 25, open at its extreme end for the sliding reception and removal of the bristle head 2l.

The bristle head 21 consists essentially of a combined body portion 28 and outstanding bristles 29; the latter preferably of the prong form, like those in said prior patent, and composed of stiifly resilient flexible plastic sheet materials, such as those marketed materials known as Ethocel or Lucite, or those enumerated in said prior patent, or any cellulose sheet material of the required properties. 1

When the head 21 has been slid into place it is held snugly by friction, its body being preferably scored or nicked longitudinally at each side forming indentations 353, to become engaged by the upper corners of the side flanges 24 to lock the head '2 against tipping out of place, as best seen in Fig. 4.

Each renewable head 21 is readily thrust slidingly into its operating position occupying the pocket 25, and to facilitate thrusting each used and disintegrated head out of place the handle neck 22' is formed with a'sloping ejecting groove X leading down toward the bottom of the pocket 25 and permitting the thumb or finger nail to be applied efciently against the end of the head for the unloading action. By the described arrangements the handle may be used permanently and only the bristled head discarded after each single use. In addition to the head end pocket 25 and the ejecting groove X described, the handle is preferably formed with certain other recesses. Thus, there is shown at the upper side of the handle an elongated shallow gutter Y, extending substantially the full length of the shank 2l being, like the other recesses, of smoothly curved formation, as best seen in Fig. 6. This long recess Y is of utility in the effective handling of the toothbrush during use. A third recess provided in accordance with this invention consists of a deep notch Z, shown in dotted lines in Fig. l and in full lines in Figs. 3, 5 and 6. Without protruding, the notch Z is formed by the molding of the handle material inwardly in a diagonal manner, producing a relatively short but deep notch, the base of which is substantially at tothe fiat back surface of the handle shank, as best seen in Fig. 6. This notch Z is of longitudinal length and of substantial depth to receive the forenger or the thumb during those brushing operations wherein is employed the 4.5 rotary sweeping actionalready referred to, the bottom of the notch providing a seat for the finger or thumb in a manner to permit the holding of the toothbrush at the desired slant for the purpose described; and in this operation the presence of the long shallow gutter Y may cooperate, the user being able to grip firmly the shank 2l with that part of the rigid material gripped between thumb and finger which is shown in Fig. 6 as separating the recesses Y and Z, and which may be termed a slanting or about 45 web 26. When describing the notch Z, the web 2B or the brushing action as at 45 is meant at roughly a half of a right angle.

Each bristle head, being a manufactured entity, applicable to and removable from the handle head end, consists of a set or row of small ller blocks or pads 32, separating and clamping between them, in longitudinal .align-ment a series of bristle or prong sections or pieces E4, each two llers clamping one or several, that is, two, three or more bristle pieces by their lower or root ends 35, upstanding from which are their prong extensions or bristles 36, shown shaped with tapering sides terminating with apexes 31, which may be sharp-pointed as in Figs. and 8 or rounded or rendered blunt, as in Figs. 12, 13 and 15, either by so cutting them out or in a special manner to be described. Each prong member 3S is pre"erably constructed of a thin plastic sheet'ng material, such as those already identied, having suitably stiff flexibility comparable with that of ordinary bristles, and with toughness and waterinsolubility.

The ller pads or oblong spacing and clamping blocks 32 of the head should, initially 'when dry, have Solidity and stiffness to give rigidity1 to the removable head 21. Each separating blockor filler may be composed of cardboard, or of fabric or paper, sometimes stiffened by starch or other water-vulnerable ingredient; so that when wetted the blocks absorb water and within a few minutes become softened, the head disintegrating beyond the capability of satisfactory further use.

For clamping the blocks and bristle pieces in alignment, for example, twenty blocks with three bristle pieces between each two blocks, all of these elements are previously formed with perforations or punctured holes 38 in exact alignment; and, when assembled, an elongated clamping device, shown as a staple 39, is driven through the perforations and clinched exteriorly at the far end, see Figs. 2, *7, and 11. This clamper is a long wire piece, in the nature 'of a rivet, preferably double.

An important feature of the invention is the providing of the single-use toothbrush, in an effective and practical manner, with an adequate supply of a dentifrice for the single use of the brush, being preferably a powdery dentifrice previously applied upon the bristles of the renewable head, thus obviating the need of carrying along with the toothbrush a separate supply of dentifrice material. When the toothbrush head is wetted by water and placed in the mouth, or is used Without previous wetting and relying upon saliva, the self-destruction of the head commences and progresses gradually, the applied dentifrice furnishing the cleansing means, and the head and dentifrice lasting for the few minutes necessary for a thorough brushing of the teeth. According to this part of the invention the bristles are, preferably during manufacture, treated to coat them with an adhering application of the powdery dentifrice, which is thus carried by the brush head in the most effective position for instant brushing use, with wetting in one or another Imanner, and for discarding upon the completion of the single use.

Such a dentifrice coating upon the bristes is indicated at D in Fig. 4 and other gures. It may be applied in various ways, but preferably after the elements of the head 21 have been assembled and secured, although the bristle Sections 3'4 might be so treated prior to assembling; and

when the plan is employed of rounding the apexes 3l of the bristles or prongs, the dentifrice coating thereof is preferably performed thereafter. In any case the precoating by dentifrice should be performed and completed before the toothbrush or the renewable heads thereof are marketed and used. In referring to the dentifrice as powdery is meant that it comprises a finely divided solid component, preferably but not necessarily initially dry.

A subordinate feature is in regard to the adhering of the dentifrice upon the bristles. This might be effected by incorporating with the powdery material some adhesive material, such as those below mentioned, causing the dentifrice to stick upon the prongs and remain held until rsed. The mechanical act of applying the mixture to the prongs may be similar to that hereinbelow described as the preferable mode of procedure. Whatever mode be used the dentifrice is preferably applied to both sides and the edges of substantially every bristle or prong, and to extend from the lapex downwardly substantially to the foot of the prongs, where the material will be more quickly availablefor actual use. -It is unnecessary that the dentifrice application should extend downward-ly as far as the filler blocks or pads 32. Y

By my preferred method I rst spray upon the bristles a tacky or adhesive agent, of a harmless character, followed by the application of the dentifrice agent; these agents not impairing the bristles or the assembled head of the toothbrush. A tacky agent which is not unpleasant should be selected and one which is neutral or preferably pleasant in taste and odor; and the following have been employed with satisfaction, namely honey or a sweet syrup, but other tacky agents may be used such as glycerin, latex or the like. The selected material may be applied by spraying it, preferably in the forni of a fine mist, lightly upon the prongs, although the upper part of the destructible head may be dipped briefly into the agent. Next the powdery dentifrice is applied,v in dry form; and this may be dusted upon the bristles or applied by blowing, using any well known blowing means for the purpose; or the. brush head may be dipped into a supply of the powdery dentifrice material.

A subordinate and optional feature of improvement is that illustrated in 14 wherein each of the prongs 34 is subdivided by substantially. upright slits or cuts lll, four slits being shown symmetrically in'respect toy each prong, so as to provide, in place of each single prong, a plural number of upright bristle strips including notably a central strip or bristle 432 reaching the prong apex 3l' and at each side a bristle or strip 43 long enough to be independently serviceable for cleansing purposes. Beyond .these are short or stub strips of little or not Voperative value. By carrying further this plan, as shown n the more enlarged Fig. 15, the slits or cuts are widened into open slots 44, thus forming the central and the two lateral bristle strips 42 and "i3 in slightly separated relation, with improved action.. Whenthe prong sections are subdivided into narrow strips. as in Figs. 14 or 15 the stock should naturally be of somewhat heavier character to retain sufficient resilient stiffness for toothbrushing purposes.

in advantageous method of manufacture of toothbrush bristle heads 2l comprising bristle prong sections 34 and separating ller pads or blocks 32 is as follows. The destructible or pasteboard pads 32 may be cut out of pasteboard stockl into their oblong or other shape in any known cutting or punching mode. The prong sections 34 each comprising its root portion 35 and thereabove its serrated or prong portion 35 mayv be produced rapidly in large quantities by the method partially indicated in Fig. i6. Forde,- scriptive purposes theprong sheet .material may' be considered as supplied in extended r-olls each, containing great length of sheet strip 46 of proper,v width to produce two series of complementary. prong sections, as shown. At the lower or near part of Fig. 16 is laid out an extended series of individual prong sections in endwise alignment and with the plural prongs thereof in similar alignment, defined by zigzag outline; which outline, it will be perceived, is effective to define also a second or complementary far series of prong pieces that are relatively inverted, the prongs 3S thereof extending into the spaces between they prongs 36 of `the lnear series. By this plan'it is only necessary to run the strip, continuously and at highspeed. through a cutting apparatus of' conventional type, not necessary to show; and,I employing a cutter or roller constructed and adapted to cut the continuous zigzag line 41,

eiective to cut apart from each other the near and the far series of prong pieces, and to cause also the cutting of transverse or cross cuts or slits 48, one series each for the near and far series of prong pieces, and spaced longitudinally so as to provide, on each prong piece, the desired number of prongs, in this case three` The cutting means is preferably tted also to punch or puncture a series of small perforations straddling the cross cut lines 48 thereby to form, at the lateral upright edges of each prong piece, the shallow indentation or scoring 3D already mentioned which later serves, along with other similar indentations, as shown in Fig. 4, to receive the upper termini or horns 24 of the toothbrush head ends 23, thereby to position and lock the head in place on the toothbrush, At the same time, and conveniently in line with the punched perforations 30, the cutting means may be equipped to punch also the perforations 38 which, after assembling, are adapted to receive the legs of the securing staple 39 by which the bristle head is unied. As indicated all of these described operations may be performed by automatic machinery, with the resulting great cheapness of manufacture.

The next step is to assemble the proper numbers of filler pads 32 and prong sections 34 to constitute a bristle head. This could readily be done by automatic assembling means, followed by the driving of the staple 39 through the perforations 38 and the clinching thereof; or the assembling could be performed automatically or manually by threading the ller pads and the prong sections directly upon the staple of each head. As an example a head may be composed of twenty of the blocks or pads 32, and a sufficient number of prong sections to introduce tw`o or three thereof between each two pads; so that if three prong sections are to be provided in each group, there will be a total of fifty-seven thereof combined with the twenty pads and the single staple, to produce a completed bristle head; of course after the proper endwise compressing of the assemblage and the clinching of the staple.

When Ethocel plastic is used it is preferably transparent, and in gage it may be of 0.003 to 0.0075 inch thick; and other plastics correspondingly to afford fairly stiff resilience of the order of that of the bristles of conventional toothbrushes.

Each bristle head thus produced is now ready to slide into the undercut head end of the illustrated toothbrush handle and to be practically operated for a single use. Upon the completion of each head however it is preferably first treated to provide the blunted or rounded prong apexes 31 as shown in Figs. 12, 13 and 15. The advantage of this step is to render slightly dull the otherwise sharp apex, or to reshape the point into a thickening or ball, thus eliminating possible injury or scratching or cutting of the gums. One mode of providing a rounded apex would be to shape the cutters to give to each prong an initial slightly rounded contour. Another mode of treating a sharp prong point to blunt or ball it is to effect a burning operation upon the apex, as by chemical agent capable of softening the plastic material. Thus in the case of Ethocel sheeting material, there may be used for the purpose a solvent or softener, of which toluene is an example. Each bristle head may be dipped verylightly into the solvent bath, so as to apply the liquid to the extreme apexes only of the prongs; or the application may be rendered automatic during continuous travel of the series of heads under manufacture, and at one length of travel passing the inverted heads through a very shallow bath of the solvent material. It is found that the softening or burning action of the solvent has the tendency to contract the extreme apex of the plastic material, shortening slightly the prongs, leaving them rounded, and thickening them laterally, as is brought out with some exaggeration in Fig` 13. After a brief period of exposure to this described operation the prong tips may be washed clear of the solvent or softener and allowed to dry before treating the prongs by applying adherently thereon a powdery dentifrice D as already described. Instead of the softening mode of de-pointing the apexes, to prevent gum scratching, this object may be attained by the presence of a thin coating of latex or similar coating material, for example the same application of latex employed', if it be employed, as a tacky material to assist the adherence of the dentifrice upon the prongs. When the dentifrice D is finally applied this may be done by automatic machinery during the travel of the series of bristle heads preferably with the bristles pointing downwardly; means being provided along the path of travel for applying first the tacky material, by spraying or otherwise, and thereupon the dentifrice material by dusting, spraying or dipping. After a suitable period for final drying the completed and treated heads are ready to be grouped and packaged for the market.

What is claimed is: y

l. As an article of manufacture a single-use toothbrush having a renewable head carried on a handle, and wherein the head is a built-up structure comprising a series of spacing pads which soften on wetting thereby to cause early disintegration of the head, and a series of ndividual upstanding bristle prong sections of stiiiiy exible plastic sheet material each shaped With a base portion and one or more upstanding prongs tapering to apexes; said spacing pads being alternated and clamped with such prong sections whereby the section base ends are held sandwiched between the pads; characterized in that such upstanding tapered prongs are constructed with substantially parallel upright slits subdividing each such prong into several subprongs of reduced widths, said sub-prongs being of differing lengths or extents of upward reach, and each being tapered into an upwardly directed apex; thus providing enhanced flexibility of bristle action as well as la more extensive and complete coverage of the tooth area under treatment.

2. The method of manufacturing a single-use toothbrush comprising the following steps: cutting a large number of spacing pads from a supply of water-softenable pasteboard; cutting a large supply of individual prong sections from sheet plastic material of stiffly flexible character by longitudinally feeding a supply strip of said material and cutting therefrom a double row of complementary series of the prong sections each having a body area between a base portion and the projecting prongs, namely, by producing a continuous zigzag cut along the middle of said strip to outline the two series of intermeshing prongs, and producing spaced cross cuts each of which extends from an apex to the near edge of the strip, at both sides thereof, these cutting actions` causing severance of the individual prong sections; and before severance punching a series of perforations adapted subsequently to receive a longitudinal clamping device or staple, and a second series of perforations, straddling the positions of the cross cuts to form side indentations on the prong sections; next assembling a nurnber of such spacing pads with a number of groups of prong sections between the pads, to build up a complete bristle head, and inserting the clamping staple member, and clinching the same to complete the bristle head.

3. A single-use toothbrush having in combination a renewable head and a handle carrying the head, and wherein the head is built up of a series of spacing pads which disintegrate quickly on wetting, and a series of individual upstanding bristle prong sections of stifiiy flexible and water resisting sheet material each section being shaped with a base portion and one or more upstanding prongs; said spacing pads being alternated and clamped with Such prong sections whereby the section base ends are held sandwiched between the pads; and characterized in that such upstanding tapered prongs are constructed with upright slits subdividing each such prong into several sub-prongs of differing extents of upward 10 reach, and each extending into an upwardly drected apex.


REFERENCES CITED The following references are of record in the le of this patent:

UNITED STATES PATENTS Number Name Date 835,709 Miller Nov. 13, 1906 846,900 Bloom Mar. 12, 1907 1,113,054 Sadler Oct. 6, 1914 1,492,360 Davis Apr. 29, 1924 1,725,852 Cressler Aug. 27, 1929 1,769,747 Major July 1, 1930 1,924,147 Bates Aug. 29, 1933 1,984,787 Elliot Dec. 18, 1934 2,171,591 /Minich Sept. 5, 1939 2,235,581 King Mar. 18, 1941 2,265,274 Elliott Dec. 9, 1941 2,328,998 Radford Sept. 7, 1943 2,413,551 Englund Dec. 31, 1946 2,418,344 Goldberg Apr. 1, 1947

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US2667655 *Sep 22, 1951Feb 2, 1954Jr George C HalfordTooth cleaning device having absorbent laminations
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U.S. Classification300/21, 15/104.94, 15/167.1, 401/268, 15/207.2
International ClassificationA46B5/02, A46B9/04, A46D1/00
Cooperative ClassificationA46B9/005, A46D1/00, A46B5/02, A46B2200/1066, A46B2200/01
European ClassificationA46B9/00E, A46B5/02, A46D1/00