US 2733843 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Feb. 7, 1956 A. SEROKO 2,733,343
DISPENSING CONTAINERS Filed Jan. 2]., 1952 United States Patent- DHSPENSENG CGNTAINERS Andrew Serolro, Montreal, Quebec, Canada Application January 21, 1952, Serial No. 267,326
4 Claims. (Cl. 222-490) This invention relates to improvements in dispensing containers and the object of the invention is to provide a container, such as a collapsible tube, which may be 7 manufactured at lower cost than comparable conventional containers and which will be more convenient for the user and will protect the contents of the container against contamination and deterioration by exposure to air. While the invention will be described hereinafter in its application to collapsible containers, it will be understood it is not thus limited but may be applied to other types of reducible volume containers.
Collapsible dispensing tubes at present in general use are formed of soft metal, such as tin or a tin alloy, and include an externally threaded neck surrounding the outlet, on which an internally threaded cap of metal or plastic material is screwed to close the outlet. Considerable saving in cost of production could be effected if the threaded neck and cap could be dispensed with.
Also, in the hands of the user, the cap is frequently lost or improperly applied so that the contents of the tube become contaminated at the uncovered outlet opening or leak out onto surrounding objects or become dried and useless. Various attempts have been made to provide automatic closures at the outlets of such tubes but none of these have proved satisfactory and do not reduce the cost of producing the tube.
According to this invention, a collapsible tube is provided which may be produced at lower cost than conventional tubes and which includes an automatic closure at the outlet, eliminating the usual screw cap and any need for the usual threaded neck.
Broadly speaking, the invention consists in the provision of a collapsible dispensing tube of conventional or other suitable shape, formed of soft metal or metal alloy or of a soft, flexible synthetic resinous material, said tube having at its outlet a nipple composed of soft, resilient material, such as natural or synthetic rubber or synthetic resinous material, having at its free end an H shaped slit providing two lips which may be moved apart by the contents of the tube when subjected to pressure to create an exit opening from the tube, and flanking walls at the ends of the lips.
In greater detail, the invention consists in the features and combinations of features herein disclosed, together with all such modifications thereof and substitutions of equivalents therefor as are within the scope of the a pended claims.
In the accompanying drawings, which illustrateembodiments of the invention now preferred but to the details of which the invention is not limited:
Fig. 1 is a plan View of a collapsible tube of conventional shape, in section at its outlet end to show the closure means of this invention.
Fig. 2 is a sectional view on the line 22 of Fig. 1.
Fig. 3 is a side elevation of closure means such as .shown in Figs. 1 and 2 and illustrating a modification.
Fig. 4 is an end elevation of the closure means. Fig. 5 is afragmentary sectional view of the closure means, on an enlarged scale as compared with previous figures, showing the same in closed position.
Fig. 6 is a view similar to Fig. 5 showing the closure means in open position.
Fig. 7 is a fragmentary view of a tube and closure means illustrating a modification.
Referring more particularly to the drawings, 11 designates a collapsible dispensing tube of conventional shape having a thin cylindrical wall 12 and a thicker, frustoconical, annular end wall 13 from the central part of which projects a nipple 14, preferably of ogival shape. The nipple is hollow and the thickness of its wall preferably tapers from the base, or tube end, of the nipple to the tip thereof, which is formed with an H-shaped slit disposed symmetrically with respect to the nipple axis and extending through the wall thereof. The slit defines a pair of normally meeting lips 16 and flanking walls 17 normally contacting the ends of the lips, as will be seen from Fig. 4. The nipple may be ogival at any diametral plane or may be wedge shaped, as shown in Fig. 3, to enable the cross member of the H-shaped slit to be longer than is possible in a completely ogival form.
The nipple and tube may be formed separately, as shown in Figs. 1 and 2, or they may be formed integral, as shown in Fig. 7. In either case, the nipple is formed of material having the relative softness, flexibility and resiliency necessary to satisfy the mechanical requirements as determined by the viscosity of the material to be contained in the tube and having chemical inertness suited to the nature of the material. A very wide range of suitable materials is available, among which are natural rubber and synthetic resinous substances such as polystyrene, polybutadiene, polyisoprene, polyvinvl halides, polyvinyl acetals and butyrals, polyacrylates and co-polymers of two or more of the monomers corresponding to the aforesaid polymers, and, in fact, any other synthetic resinous substance which has or may be modified to have the aforementioned physical and chemical characteristics. The degree of softness, flexibility and resiliency will be determined by the physical consistency of the material to be contained in the tube, less freedom of flexibility being permissible for use with heavy pastes than with more fluid materials. When the nipple and tube are separately formed, the tube may be of soft metal or metal alloy, as is customary, or may be of any soft, flexible material, such as one of the synthetic resinous materials already named, having the desired chemical inertness, but when the body and nipple are formed integral the material should be such as to satisfy the mechanical requirements of the nipple.
When the nipple and tube are formed separately, the end wall 13 of the tube is annular and defines a central opening 18 in which the base of the nipple is a tight fit, the inner edge surface of the end wall being preferably normal to the inner and outer surfaces of the wall so that the opening tapers inwardly to support the nipple against movement into the tube. The nipple may be formed with a circumferential groove 19 adapted to the taper of the opening 18. The base of the nipple is also provided with a skirt 2% extending radially outward and having a diameter somewhat less than the inner diameter of the tube. The surface of this skirt adjacent the nipple is frusto-conical, having a taper corresponding to the taper of the inner surface of the end wall 13 so that the skirt may fit snugly against the inner surface of the end wall. The skirt preferably tapers in thickness from the nipple to the circumference. The skirted nipple is inserted into the tube prior to filling the same and the skirt is seated against the inner surface of the tube end wall. For most varieties oftube contents, a good contact of the skirt and "the end wall and a tight fit of the nipple in the end wall opening suflice to retain the contentszof the tube but,
if desired, an adhesive which will not be affected by, or affect the contents of the tube may be used to attach the skirt to the tube end wall.
Normally the lips 16 of the nipple are in close contact with one another and the flanking walls 17 are in close contact with the ends of the lips so that there isno open ing at the slit. Quite apart from the natural resiliency of the material of the nipple holding the slit closed, the compression of the nipple in the tube end wall and the pressure thereof against the tapering edge surface of the opening 18 exert a positive pressure urging the lips and flanking walls into the aforesaid contacts. The lips of the nipple may be flexedaway from one another, as shown in Fig. 6, by the contents of the tube when subjected to pressure applied by squeezing the tube, to provide an egress opening 21 for the contents of the tube, along the cross portion of the H-shaped slit. The existence of the parallel side portions of the slit frees the lips for this movement. The dimensions of the H-shaped slit are such that the cross-sections of the flanking portions 17 are greater than the cross-sections of the lips and in consequence the flanking walls 17 are not appreciably moved away from the ends of the lips and do not open the parallel side portions of the slit or permit egress therethrough of the contents of the tube. Thus the nipple opens to produce a rectangular outlet orifice from which the contents of the tube emerge in flat ribbon form of predetermined width. tube is released, the tube contents cease to press against the lips 16 which then return to normal mutually engaging position by their inherent resiliency and by reason of the pressure resulting from compression of the nipple in the tube end wall and against the inner edge surface thereof, thus closing the tube at the instant that the pressure on it is released. This instantaneous closing of the outlet prevents contamination of the contents of the tube, such as might occur in the time usually elapsing before an ordinary cap is screwed onto a tube neck. The time element is not important with commodities such as tooth paste or shaving cream but is important if the commodity is a medicinal or a surgical dressing preparation. When the lips are separated their meeting edge surfaces are slightly divergent, as shown in Fig. 6, and when they come together, the inner edges of these surfaces are the first to contact one another so that in the final closing any material caught between the lips is squeezed outwardly, thus ensuring that no material which has been exposed to the air is retained in the closed nipple. Any of the material remaining on the outside of the nipple may be wiped or washed off, thus completely avoiding the objectionable accumulations of material usually found in the conventional cap and in the threads of it and of the neck. The lips are sufliciently rigid to resist any small internal pressure on them incident to the ordinary handling of the tube. When the external pressure on the tube is removed there isa tendency, even in a soft metal tube, to return to original form and to create a very slight vacuum in itself which assists the lips in closing and when they have closed, utilizes the pressure of the ambient atmosphere to urge the parts 16 and 17 tightly against one another.
Having thus described my invention, I claim:
1. A dispensing container comprising, in combination, a hollow container body having an opening in the wall thereof; and a hollow dispensing nipple composed of material which is flexible and more resilient than the material of the body, seated in said body opening and in compression therein; the body opening being'defined by an inwardly tapering, frustoconical wall; and the nipple being formed with a frusto-conical surface portion conforming substantially to the taper of said frusto-conical body wall and by itself of larger diameter than said frustoconical body wall opening and seating on the'same and being in compression therein; and a skirt extending radially outward of the nipple at the inner end of said frusto- When the manual pressure on the I conical surface thereof and engaging the innervsurface of the container wall around said opening to retain said frusto-conical surface of the nipple in close contact with said frusto-conical wall and in compression in said container opening.
2. A dispensing container comprising, in combination, a hollow container body having an opening in the wall thereof; and a hollow dispensing nipple composed of readily flexible, resilient material which is more resilient than the material of the body, seated in said body opening and in compression therein; the body opening being defined by an inwardly tapering, frusto-conical wall; and the nipple being formed with a frusto-conical surface portion normally of larger diameter than the body opening conforming substantially to the taper of said frustoconical body wall and seating on the same and being in inward radial compression therein; said nipple tapering away from its said frusto-conical surface portion and having at least one of two opposite and converging wall portions thereof decreasing in thickness from said frustoconical surface to the tip of the nipple, and other opposite wall portions thereof of substantially uniform thickness from said frusto-conical surface to the tip of the nipple, and materially thicker than the first said wall portions adjacent the tip of the nipple; said nipple being formed at its tip with a slit including a central portion and end portions angularly related to the central portion and defining at least one lip free at three edges from the nipple body; said slit being so disposed with relation to said nipple wall portions that the lip is formed in one of the first said wall portions and extends substantially from one to the other of the second said wall portions; said lip being outwardly flexible between the second said wall portions by pressure within the nipple and being urged to inward movement by the resiliency of the nipple material and by forces exerted in the material by reason of the compression of the nipple in the container opening; and a circumferential flange extending radially outward of the nipple and engaging the inner surface of the container wall to retain said frusto-conical surface of the nipple in close contact with said frusto-conical wall of the container and in compression in the container opening.
3. A device according to claim 2 in which both of the first said wall portions decrease in thickness toward the tip of the nipple and in which the slit is H-shaped and defines a pair of normally mutually engaging lips urged toward one another by the forces exerted in the nipple material by reason of the compression of the nipple in the container opening. I
4. An automatic closure for a dispening container comprising a hollow nipple composed of readily flexible, resilient material and formed near its base with a frustoconical portion tapering away from the tip of the nipple, to be seated on a frusto-conical seat of a container to support the nipple against movement toward the container; a skirt integral with and extending radially outward of the nipple at its base to engage the inner surface of a container to hold the nipple against movement away from the container; said nipple being formed with a slit extending through the nipple wall and'defining at least one lip separated at three edges from the nipple wall, said lip decreasing in thickness away from its attachment to the nipple body, and the nipple walls flanking the ends of said lip being less flexible than the lip; said frusto-conical portion being larger than the container seat for which it is adapted whereby it will be compressed when fully seated with setting up of forces in the nipple opposing outward flexion of the lip.
References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,002,426 7 Moore Sept. 5, 1911 (Other references on following page) 5 UNITED STATES PATENTS Irrgang Aug. 19, 1913 Buchanan Oct. 23, 1917 Smith Sept. 29, 1931 Janssen Feb. 16, 1932 Cruze May 24, 1932 Kurkjian Sept. 21, 1937 Gunn Oct. 5, 1937 6 Kent Feb. 14, 1939 Smith Oct. 17, 1939 De Swart May9, 1950 Stanley Feb., 6, 1951 Gray May 15, 1951 Smith Sept. 23, 1952 FOREIGN PATENTS Germany Sept. 9, 1929