US 2718299 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Sept 20, 1955 v. 1 ATWATER ET AL 2,718,299 L MEDICINAI.. DISPENSER 2 Sheets-$heet l Filed June l, 1950 ATTORNEYS.
Sept. 20, 1955 v. L ATwATl-:R ET AL 2,718,299
MEDICINAL DISPENSER Filed June l, 1950 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 United States Patent O MEDICINAL DISPENSER Verne L. Atwater and Leonard V. Mercer, Tiffin, Ohio Application June 1, 1950, Serial No. 165,562
7 Claims. (Cl. 206-42) This invention relates to a medicinal dispenser and particularly to an attractive device which may unnoticeably be carried upon the person and from which one or a number of pills or capsules, tablets or the like may be ejected in accordance with demand in a simple and expedient manner.
Because of the inconvenience and conspicuousness of present day medicinal dispensing means and containers,
many who should be using drugs often intentionally or otherwise refrain from or neglect doing so. To make the pills more readily available to the user without drawing attention to their use, it is an object of this invention to produce a pill dispenser which has the appearance of a pen or pencil and from which one or more units may be ejected in an effective and convenient manner unnoticed by the casual observer.
Another object is to produce a dispenser from which a number of pills or capsules can be intermittently ejected without loading and which can be reloaded with a plurality of pills in a convenient and easy manner.
A further object is to produce a new and improved pill dispenser of the type described, which is simple in construction, easy in operation, durable and formed of low cost materials.
A still further object is to produce a cartridge adapted for holding a number of pills for use in a dispensing device of the type described.
These and other objects and advantages of this invention will hereinafter appear and for purposes of illustration but not of limitation an embodiment of the invention is shown in the accompanying drawings in which:
Figure 1 is an elevational View of a pill dispenser ernbodying features of this invention;
Figure 2 is a sectional elevational view taken along the line 2 2 of Figure 1;
Figure 3 is a sectional elevational view corresponding to that of Figure 2, but with the parts in ejectment position;
Figure 4 is an elevational View 0f the push-bar and plunger separate and apart from the dispenser, showing the plunger in its extended position;
Figure 5 is an elevational View corresponding to that of Figure 4 showing the arrangement of parts for returning the plunger to its starting position of adjustment;
Figure 6 is a sectional View taken along the line 6-6 of Figure 3;
Figure 7 is a sectional View taken along the line 7--7 of Figure 2;
Figure 8 is an elevational View partially in sectionl of a loaded cartridge embodying features of this invention;
Figure 9 is an elevational view partially in section of a modied form of a pill dispenser embodying features of this invention;
Figure 10 is a top plan view of the dispenser shown in Figure 9;
Figure ll is a sectional View taken along the line 11-11 of Figure 9;
2,718,299 Patented Sept. 2G, 1955 Figure 12 is a fragmentary elevational view showing a further modification in a pill dispensing device.
The features of this invention are embodied in an elongate tubular member having an open end and a closed end through which an actuating push bar member may be reciprocated manually to effect positive step wise displacement of a plunger for ejecting pills from the open end of the member. Means are provided to permit return of the plunger to starting position when the load of pills has been ejected and for reloading the member with a plurality of pills in cartridge form having characteristics which militate against inadvertent loss or passage of the pills through the open end of the member.
As shown in the drawing, the tubular pill dispensing device is formed of an upper cylindrical member 10 having a bore 11 extending therethrough and a lower cylindrical member 12 which through the upper end portion has a bore 13 which corresponds dimensionally to the bore 11 and a bore 14 through the remainder, which is of smaller diameter. The cylindrical members 10 and 12 which have substantially the same outside diameter, are usually formed of rigid material such as metal, plastics and the like. The lower end portion 15 of member 12 tapers inwardly and a clip 16 is secured onto the outer wall of the upper member for enabling the device to be clipped on an article of clothing in the manner of a pen or pencil which the unit tends to simulate.
The upper cylindrical member 10 and the lower cylindrical member 12 are removably secured in substantially end to end relation through a coupling 17 in the form of a cup member 18 having an annular rib 19 intermediate its ends. Threads 20 on the outer wall portion to one side of the rib 19 screw into a threaded portion 21 at the lower end of member 10 and threads 22 on the outer wall portion to the other side of the rib 19 screw into a threaded portion 23 in the upper end portion of the member 12.
The upper end of member 10 is closed by a plug 24 which is threaded into bore 11 until an annular flange 25 integral with the plug seats upon the end of the cylinder 10. The plug has an opening 26 of smaller dimension than the bore 11 through which an elongate push bar in the form of a tubular member 27 is axially shiftable. A coil spring 28 or other resilient member is disposed in the annular space 29 between the tubular member 10 and the push bar 27. One end of the spring bears against an annular, inwardly extending llange 30 integral with the lower portion of the member 10 while the other end bears against an annular, outwardly extending ange 31 integral with the upper portion of the push bar 27 in a region disposed below plug 24. The spring constantly urges the push bar toward its outer or normal position of adjustment, limited by stops operative upon engagement of the flange 31 with the lower end of the plug 24. In its normal position of adjustment, the push bar 27 is adapted to extend outwardly from the upper end of the plug 26 by an amount corresponding to at least the width of a pill 33 to be ejected, as will hereinafter be pointed out.
Axially slidable within the bore 34 through the push bar 27 is an elongate plunger 35 of polygonal shape such as a cylindrical rod having a plurality of spaced teeth 36 longitudinally arranged on one wall portion. The teeth 36 have their horizontally disposed oiset portion in the form of a ledge 37 facing in the upper direction for operative engagement with an inwardly turned detent such as an inwardly turned end portion 38 of a leaf spring 39 which depends from one wall portion of the push bar 27. The leaf spring operates through a slot 4) formed in the corresponding lower portion of the push bar. The upper end 41 of the plunger is grooved and the upper end portion of the push bar has a correspondingly dimensioned opening contiguous with the bore 34 in which the end 41 seats when the teeth of the plunger and the detent or spring 38 are properly aligned for operative engagement,
To this point, description has been made to a pol'- tion of the device embodying features of this invention wherein inward displacement of the push bar 27 by an amount which extends from the tubular member will cause corresponding displacement of the plunger 35 responsive to the operative engagement of the spring 39 with the upper wall of a tooth 36 lying therebelow. Such displacement further tensions the coil spring 28 so that upon release of forces externally applied to displace the push bar 27, the spring member, or other resilient means will become effective and return the push bar to its normal starting position. Unless means are provided for holding the plunger in a position to which it has been displaced, it too will tend to return to its starting position with the push bar.
An important concept of this invention resides in a new and improved gripping member which permits forced displacement of the plunger in one or both directions, but resists return movement with sufficiently greater force to hold the plunger in its displaced position.
As shown in the drawing, the holding member embodying features of this invention, hereinafter referred to as a clutch, may be formed in combination with the cup shaped member 17 having an opening 140 in the closed end portion for passage of the plunger 35 therethrough while the open end is provided with a plug 41A with a similar opening which is in registry with opening 140. The plug is threaded into the open end of the cup shaped member 17 to enable endwise adjustment for increasing or decreasing the tension of a coil spring 42 disposed between the plug 41A and cooperating cam sectors 43 having inwardly tapering upper walls in sliding engagement with the inner wall of a female cup member 44 having a cooperating taper along the inner wall. The female cup or plug 44 has an opening in registry with the opening 140 adjacent thereto and in their normal position of adjustment, the Sections 43 arranged about the plunger in spaced apart relation also define an opening through which the plunger may slide. The sectors may comprise two diametrically opposed units or they may be formed of three separate units having centers about 120 degrees apart or four structures may be employed having centers about 90 degrees apart, etc.
The coil spring 42 constantly urges the sectors 43 in a direction to cam the sectors into firmer gripping relation with the plunger. This gripping relation is further augmented by the effect of the frictional force developed between the plunger and the sectors, which tends to force the sectors to shift in an upward direction with the plunger to impart increasing resistance to relative movement. The sum of the forces developed upon reaction from the spring and frictional forces is sufficient to hold the plunger against return movement so that the push bar with its associated spring will return to its normal position of adjustment independent of the plunger to engage a tooth located above. If increased tension or gripping relation is desired, the plug 41A may be adjusted inwardly to increase the force of the spring or outwardly to decrease the effective force of the spring.
Another important feature of this invention resides in the cartridge, comprising an elongate tubular member 50 formed of plastic, paper, metal or the like. The cartridge has an outer dimension and is of a length corresponding to that of the small bore 14 in the cylindrical member 12. The lower end portion of the tubular member 50 is crimped inwardly as at 51 to provide a resilient obstruction that resists free passage of pills 33 stacked one upon another through the greater portion of the length of the cartridge. A similar restriction 51a may be provided at the other end portion of the cartridge. An outwardly extending annular fiange 52 is formed about the upper end of the tubular member to seat upon the shoulder 53 formed by the contiguous bores 13 and 14, of large and small diameter respectively. In its mounted relation, the anged portion 52 is firmly seated between the shoulder 53 and the lower end of the cup shaped member 17. The internal opening through the flanged portion 53 is preferably formed with an outward taper to facilitate loading of the cartridge with pills and to permit easy entrance of the plunger 35 for operative engagement and displacement of the pills in the manner described.
At the start, when the device is newly loaded, the push bar or tubular member 27 is in its normal extended position of adjustment while the end 33 of spring 39 rests upon the upper ledge 37 of a tooth 36. The plunger 35 extends substantially throughout the length of the upper cylinder, while the free end portion is operative through the upper end of the cartridge in which the pills are stacked. As the push bar is' displaced by force in the inward direction, as shown by Figure 3, the leaf spring operatively engages the tooth and causes downward displacement of the plunger in opposition to the forces existing in the gripping member. The free end of the plunger pushes the stack of pills in the cartridge to the extent that the lowermost is forced from the end of the tubular member and is ejected for its intended use. When this operation has been accomplished, the push bar is released and it automatically returns to its starting position independently of the plunger so that subsequent displacement of the push bar in the manner described will cause ejectment of the next adjacent pill.
When all of the pills have been ejected from the cartridge, the coupling in combination with the upper cylinder 10 is unscrewed from the lower cylinder 12 to permit removal of the empty cartridge and to permit reloading with one that is filled. Before the units are reassembled, the plunger 35 is returned to its upper position of adjustment by turning the plunger relative to the spring 39 as shown in Figure 5 so that the teeth will be free of the spring to permit upward displacement of the plunger upon application of proper force. When the plunger has been returned to its starting position, the parts, that is the plunger and the spring, are turned as' shown in Figure 4 to bring the elements in realignment.
Instead of turning the plunger relative to the spring, it is preferred to employ a modified system wherein turning movement of the plunger relative to the cylinder 10 is prevented by the use of polygonal shapes such as rectangularly shaped plunger 35A operative through similarly shaped openings and in the cup shaped unit which functions as the gripping element. In this event, the push bar 27A may be turned to disengage the spring from the teeth of the plunger in a manner to permit return movement and such operative and inoperative positions can be clearly indicated by arrows or other marking means on adjacently exposed portions of the plug 26 or the outwardly extending push bar 32.
By way of further modification, shown in Figures 9ll inclusive, a cylindrical housing may be positioned on the cylindrical member 10 to provide a cavity 61 of sufficient dimension to permit storage of extra cartridges 62 therein. The housing may be enclosed by a removable cap 64 to prevent inadvertent loss of the cartridges but which may be opened in any suitable manner to permit removal and replacement of empty cartridges in the device described.
Instead of the arrangement shown in Figures 9-11 inclusive, the reserve cartridges may be stored in an annular cavity similarly formed by a cylindrical housing of large diameter arranged about the lower portion 12 of the separable tubular numbers 10 and 12.
Although the description herein is made to a dispenser for use with pills, it will be understood that the features of this invention may be embodied to dispense medicinals in other forms such as powders, grains, capsules, tablets and the like. Such medicinal compositions may include saccharine, aspirin, insulin, sulpha drugs and the like and it will also be understood that the extra cartridges displaced within the housing 60 may be arranged to contain one or more of these various drug compositions.
To prevent contamination of the medicinal content materials through the open end of the device and to further simulate the appearance of a pen or pencil, a cap member 65 corresponding in shape with the lower end of the cylindrical member 12 may be provided for attachment thereto by frictional engagement, threaded engagement or the like.
It will be further understood that numerous changes may be made in the details of construction, arrangement, and operation, without departing from the spirit of the invention, especially as dened in the following claims.
What is claimed is:
l. A pill dispensing device comprising an elongate tubular member, a plurality of pills stacked in one end portion of the tubular member adjacent an open end, an actuating member reciprocable within the other end of the tubular member, means limiting reciprocal movement of said actuating member between normal and operative positions of adjustment, means constantly urging said actuating member toward normal position of adjustment, an elongate plunger shiftable through said tubular member and having teeth longitudinally spaced in one wall thereof, means on said actuating member operatively engaging said teeth when in operative position for effecting displacement of the plunger responsive to movement of said actuating member toward operated position, said plunger als'o being rotatably mounted within said tubular member to selectively disengage said teeth from said means on said actuating member, and other means frictionally engaging said plunger to resist return movement with said actuating means.
2. A pill dispensing device as claimed in claim l in which the means constantly urging the actuating member toward normal position comprises a coil spring disposed within the tubular member.
3. A pill dispensing device as claimed in claim l in which the means on the actuating member operatively engaging the teeth 'comprises a leaf spring depending from said actuating member and wherein the teeth are arranged on said plunger with sharply offset shoulders facing in the direction of said actuating member.
4. A pill dispenser as claimed in claim 1 in which the means resisting return movement of the plunger comprises a housing through which the plunger is shiftable, a ring disposed within said housing about said plunger and having a cam surface on the underside, cam sectors operative on said cam surface and arranged in spaced relation about the plunger, and means constantly urging said sectors into camming engagement with said ring to engage said plunger with increasing force as the plunger tends to move in the direction from the underside.
5. A device for dispensing pills or the like, comprising an elongated tubular member, a plurality of pills stacked within the tubular member adjacent an open end thereof, an actuating member shiftable through the other end of the tubular member between an inner position of adjustment and an outer position of adjustment wherein an end portion of the actuator extends a predetermined distance from the other end of the tubular member, said actuating member having a longitudinally-extending passage therein and equipped at its top with a recessed closure, means constantly urging said actuator toward its outer position of adjustment, a plunger member slidably mounted in the passage of said actuator and having an extension at one end adapted to be received in the recess of said closure, said plunger being axially displaceable in response to movement of the actuator toward its inner position of adjustment for elfecting positive displacement of the stack of pills in the direction toward the adjacent open end of the tubular member to discharge a pill therefrom, and friction means cooperating with said plunger for holding the same in its displaced position during return movement of the actuator to its extended position of adjustment, said plunger being rotatable in said actuator when said extension is moved free of said recess by the displacement of said plunger to render said actuator inoperative to shift said plunger and for returning said plunger to its initial position.
6. A device for dispensing pills or the like, comprising an elongated tubular member adapted to receive a stack of pills therein adjacent an open end thereof, an actuating member shiftable through the other end of the tubular member between an inner position of adjustment and an outer position of adjustment wherein an end portion of the actuator extends outwardly from the tubular member, said actuating member having a longitudinally-extending passage therein and being equipped at its top with a recessed closure, means constantly urging said actuator toward its outer position of adjustment, a plunger member slidably mounted in the passage of said actuator and having an extension at one end adapted to be received in the recess of said closure, said plunger being axially displaceable in response to movement of the actuator toward its inner position of adjustment for effecting positive displacement of a stack of pills received in the tubular member in the direction to discharge a pill therefrom, and friction means cooperating with said plunger for holding the same in its displaced position during return movement of the actuator to its extended position of adjustment, said plunger being rotatable in said actuator when said extension is moved free of said recess by the displacement of said plunger to render said actuator inoperative to shift said plunger and for returning said plunger to its initial position.
7. In a device for dispensing pills and the like, an elongated hollow member provided with open ends and being adapted to receive a stack of pills in an end portion thereof, an actuating member mounted within the other end portion of said hollow member for reciprocating movement between an inner position and an outer positionand being provided with a longitudinally-extending passage therein, means biasing said actuating member toward its outer position, a plunger slidably mounted within said passage and being axially displaceable in re- 'sponse to movement of the actuator member toward its inner position to displace a pill stack received within said hollow member, and means cooperating with said plunger for holding the same in its displaced position during return movement of said actuator member to its outer position, said plunger being rotatable within said actuator at least for initial displacement thereof to render said actuator member inoperative to shift said plunger and to enable said plunger to be returned to initial position.
References Cited inthe le of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,438,504 Reid Dec. 12, 1922 1,529,731 Williams Mar. 17, 1925 1,546,516 Smith `luly 2l, 1925 1,838,797 Towy Dec. 29, 1931 1,999,879 Lee Apr. 30, 1935 2,280,443 Murray Apr. 2l, 1942 2,294,001 Ritter Aug. 25, 1942 2,419,711 Dillon Apr. 29, 1947 2,524,481 Schermuly Oct. 3, 1950 FOREIGN PATENTS 217,809 Great Britain June 26, 1924 432,622 Great Britain July 30, 1935