US 2802608 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Aug. 13, 195 B. F. GASSAWAY SEALED VALVE DISPENSING DEVICE Filed Oct. 18, 1954 INVENTOR. in E Gas awqy Benjam United States Patent 2,802,608 SEALED VALVE DISPENSING DEVICE Benjamin F. Gassaway, Milwaukie, 0reg., assignor of one-half to Joseph A. Hull, Portland, Oreg.
Application October 18, 1954, Serial No. 462,832 3 Claims. (Cl. 222-490) spout when the container and spout initially are fabricated, filled and marketed. The membrane is rupturable by the initial or first use 'of the spout by the consumer and thereafter to provide an aperture or dispensing outlet. Thus the spout itself, as well as the contents of the tube or container, is protected against evaporation, contamination and deterioration until it reaches the hands ofthe ultimate consumer.
In my United States Patent No. 2,623,663 issued December30, 1952, there is described an elastic dispensing spout of the type with whichtheinstant invention finds particular utility. This type of spout includes one having an elastic envelope with spaced longitudinal wall members adapted to fit the neck of or forming a part of any of a wide variety of dispensing containers. Within the envelope, a pair of mated suction cups face to face relationship upon the wall members. These suction cups, in combination with an entrance and an exit opening through the opposite ends of the envelope, bound a dispensing passage which normally is biased open to permit discharge of the contents of the container longitudinally between the suction cups. When the spout is to be sealed, the suction cups are collapsed one against the other with a compressive force which overcomes the elastic bias. This collapse forces the air and other materials from between the suction cup faces to close the passage. Vacuum-tightsuction thus created hermetically seals the passage until a second compressive force, at right angles to the original force, positively and consciously is applied to open the spout.
A typical or exemplary use of the above described dispensing spout is in conjunction with the dispensing of a commodity such as shaving lotion. Thus, for example, bottles of shaving lotion may be filled in a bottling plant and the above described elastic dispensing spout may be fitted to the neck of the bottle-immediately after the filling operation. Since the spout is formed from a natural or synthetic rubber or from an elastic plastic material, it is molded and thus is received from the spout manufacturer with the suction cups spaced in normal definition of the open position of the spout. That is to say, the dispensing spout most economically is formed in multiple unit molds with each spout being formed in one piece. This type of mold formation requires that the spout define the open or dispensing position of the elements while it is molded and, thus, as it is removed from the mold. Accordingly, when the dispensing spout has been applied to the neck of the bottle of the exemplary shaving lotion, a further step is necessary before the bottle and spout are packaged. That is to say, the suction cups must be collapsed with a compressing force which overcomes the elastic bias in order to close the passage and hermetically to seal the shaving lotion against elasare arranged in evaporation and contamination. Were the suction cups not collapsed, the dispensing spout would leak the contents of the shaving lotion bottle during packaging and shipping.
Having in mind the above described necessary closure of the suction cups prior to the packaging and shipping of the prior art spout and container, it is an important object of the instant invention to eliminate this necessity for closure of the suction cups and thus to speed and reduce the cost of the packaging and marketing operations.
It will be as apparent to those who are skilled inthe art as it is to those engaging in marketing and packaging operations in commerce that the above described type of spout is capable of mass use. Thus, diverse and numerous items of commerce such as glues, mucilage, ointments, shaving creams, tooth pastes, and other liquid, semiliquid and plastic materials all can be marketed with the spout used either as a cap or as an integral part of the container. In these mass marketing fields, competition is keen and a saving in packaging of a fraction of a cent often spells the dilference between success or failure of a particular dispensing spout or cap. Further, in the mass marketing of this type of merchandise, the individual containers often are shipped great distances and are handled numerous times by transportationconcerns, middlemen, retailers, clerks and shoppers before they reach the hands of the ultimate consumer. This shipping and handling quite apparently moves the individual containers about in their boxes and otherwise tends to cause the caps or dispensing spouts frequently to come in contact or to bump against the boxes or packages in which the containers are housed for shipment and display. It is movement and handling of this type which bring to focus an important advantage of the instant invention.
Having in mind the above practicalities of the packaging, marketing and display associated with the sale and use of my elastic dispensing spout, it is one object of my invention to provide a thin imperforate rupturable membrane over the end of the spout and integral with the body thereof in order to provide a positive type closure for the spout during the manufacturing, assembly and marketing phases of the use of the spout. Once the container and spout reach the hands of the ultimate consumer, on the other hand, this thin imperforate rupturable membrane is broken easily and automatically and is severed by the initial use of the spout thereinafter to provide an opening for the dispensing of the contents of the container in accord with a further object of my invention.
Another object of my invention is to provide a thin imperforate rupturable membrane in combination with an elastic dispensing spout in order that the shipment and handling of the container which is sealed by the spout will not inadvertently jar loose or open the spout so as either to release or spill the contents thereof or to admit contamination or evaporation of the contents.
Yet another object of my invention is to provide a thin imperforate rupturable membrane across the outlet or dispensing end of the elastic dispensing spout when the spout is formed in the mold in order that the spout initially will define a special, temporary or transient closed position and, thus, to eliminate the necessity of positively and consciously closing the suction cups of the spout during or after filling of the container and packaging thereof. Since the provision of this thin imperforate rupturable membrane can be eifected during the molding of the dispensnig spout, substantially no additional expense is involved therein and the ultimate cost of the packaged container thus is reduced by the labor and/or machine cost previously required to effect a positive and conscious closure of. the spout immediately after the fill-. ing of a container. In the mass marketing of millions of containers to which the instant invention applies, this small or fraction of container and spout soon is multiplied to asubstantial' sum' and thus becomes of major competitive and economic importance to the industry and in the art.--
These and. other objects, advantages and capabilities of my invention will be set forth in the following detailed description, taken with reference to the accompanying drawings, wherein:
Fig. l is a. top. view, partially foreshortened, the appearance of my suction cup dispensing spout at the instant that the thin imperforate rupturable membrane whichseals the end thereof is ruptured by the application of a lateral force exerted by the thumb and forefinger of the ultimate. consumer of the product cont-ainedin the container which the spout serves;
' Figs. 2'and 3 are related. plan views of the elastic dispensing spout,'Fig. 2 showing the closed position and Fig. 3 the open position thereof;
Figs; 4. and are related cross section details, taken substantially on the lines 44 and 5-5 respectively of Fig- 2', both showing the position of the suction cups and other elements of the spout in the temporary or marketing closed position defined by the thin imperforate membrane, it being noted that the suction cups define an open position such as is effected by the mold formation thereof; and
Fig. 6 is a cross section detail similar to Fig. 4 but with the suction cups collapsed, closed and compressed face to face in order to seal the dispensing passageway after the thin membrane has been ruptured.
The embodiment of the invention which is illustrated in. the drawings includes an elongated elastic envelope 7. This envelope is formed from an elastic or a flexible plastic material which gives and yields under digital pressure, although either natural or synthetic rubber also can be utilized. The prime requirement of the material from which the dispensing spout is formed is one of elasticity and durability since this spout will be collapsed repeatedly, yet when a conscious force releases theholding or suction. action of the suction cups, the
spout must return to. a natural open or dispensing position to release the contents.
The elongated elastic envelope 7 is defined by spaced.
longitudinal. Wall members which. terminate in a tubular skirt or engaging means 8 for. gripping the neck of a container 9. Thatform of the dispensing spout which is illustrated in the drawings is. particularlyadapted for threaded engagement with the neck of a tooth paste tube or bottle. interiorly of the skirt 8 as shown in Fig. 4. evident, however, that the particular method of attachment to a container or, for that matter, the forming of the spout integral with the container both are unimportant to an appreciation of the instant invention and all are within the scope of my inventive concept.
Each wall of the elastic envelope 7 carries one of a pair of mated concave suction cups 11 and 12, respectively. These suction cups, are circular, elliptical, square, or of other configuration as desired and are carried in contiguous mated or face to face relationship so the peripheral margins thereof coincide. In addition, the lateral. peripheral margins 13 of the suction cups are disposed or formed in abutment and the end'peripheral margins 14 and 15, respectively, normally are spaced one from another. The normal spacing of the end margins 14 is best shown in Fig. 3 and that of the end margins 15 is best shown in Fig. 4. In practice, it is immaterial whether this spacing of the end margins results from the inherent elasticity of the walls of the elastic envelope 7 or is due to the natural relaxed form of the suction cups 1-1 and12' so long as a passage is a cent saving 'upon each'in'dividual' showing To this end, screw threads. are formed It will be available for the discharge of the contents between the suction cups.
As previously mentioned, the preferred method of forming the dispensing spout is by molding the same from an elastic plastic materiaL- As a result of this molding process, the finished dispensing spout will have the appearance best shown in Figs. 4 and 5. As therein illustrated, the upper end margins 14 of the cups are held better toillustrate the thin membrane 16, the size and proportions thereofhave' been exaggerated somewhat in the drawings.
thickerthan a sheet of tissue paper 'yet it is continuous and is imperforate as required by the use of put.
' Turning now to Fig. 1, the top of one of my dispensing spouts is shown somewhat enlargedwith the forefinger and thumb of anultimate consumer of the packaged product pressing thereon In this figure, the thinrupttirable membrane 16 has just been broken or rupturedwith the result that a slit, opening, or exit aperture is formed and is bounded bythe jagged, rough margins. 17- of the previously existing thin membrane; In orientation, it will be recalled that Figs. 2, 4 and 5 each illustratethe position of the elements of the dispensing spout with the. thin rupturable membrane 16 intact prior tothe initial or first use; of the spout and container by the ultimate consumer. In Fig. l, the thumb and forefinger of the ultimate consumer are pressing in the direction shown by the arrows O-O in Fig. 5. This squeezing and this compression of the elastic dispensing spout has caused the spout to distort somewhat, causing the thin mem-' brane 16 to rupture, part, and split, and leaving the somewhat jagged and irregular or saw-toothed margins 17. Actually, the irregularities and saw-tooth appearanceare exaggerated somewhat in the illustration of Fig. 1 since they'would not show without the aid of a glass or microscope. In endresult, it is the margins 17 whichbound the opening or aperture through which the'com tents of the container 9 are dispensed by the ultimate; consumer. 4
In use, the suction cup dispensing spout of the instant invention finds utility with a wide variety of containers .designed to dispense any of; diverse and numerousv fluid,
semiflnid, or plastic. materials. and. 5,the container 9 normally assembly plant after which the As shown in: Figs. 2, .4, is filled at a factory or elastic envelope 7 is se- 7 cured thereto-with the thinmembrane 16 intact. It thereafter is the function of. this thin membrane to seal the conainer 9 against. contamination and leakage during shipment and marketing, all without the requirement of effecting a closure of the suction: cups 11 and: 12; With certain types of merchandise, such for example as gaseous or liquid pressure type merchandise, it maybe desired, also, to effect a closure of the suction cups. Where this closure of the cups iselfected, the recesses. which extend laterally behind the bottom margins 15 of the cupsll; and 12 serve: as mated: pressure pockets. Thereafter, any pressurewhich accumulates in the neck of the container 9 while the cups are together and the dispensing spout is closed will press against the recesses to force the suction cups 11 and :12 more tightly closed, This compressive closure force, itwillbe noted, is directly proportional to the pressure existing within the neck of the container a i hin t e Po t on f he d spens .0 2 th other hand, what is perhaps a majority of the merchan- The-thickness ofthe membrane is measured inthousandths of an inch. Thus, in order location and appearance of the- In many commercial packaging operations, the membrane is no which it is dise sealed and capped by my dispensing spout is not of an inherent pressure type and savings can be effected in the packaging and marketing of the container and spout if a separate step of closing the suction cups is not required. It is then that the membrane 16 is of maximum benefit.
In the latter use of the elastic dispensing spout, the container and spout will reach the ultimate consumer with the thin membrane 16 intact, that is unruptured, and in the condition of Figs. 2, 4 and 5. That is to say, the ultimate consumer will be presented with a container and spout wherein the end is closed and bridged over by a thin membrane. However, an initial opening of the container easily and quickly is efiected merely by pressing in an opening direction upon the margins of the dispenser, as shown by the thumb and forefinger in Fig. 1. This squeeze or pressure will flex the spout and will tend to spread the suction cups 11 and 12 so as to exert a strong parting force to the thin membrane 16. Because the membrane 16 is thin and is located immediately over the end margins 14, it will part leaving an opening which is bounded as shown by the margins 17 in Fig. 1. The tearing and splitting of the membrane ceases, of course, where the walls of the envelope and suction cups begin. Thereafter, a normal use of the dispensing spout is possible.
In normal use after the initial rupturing of the thin membrane 16, the letters C in Fig. 6 indicate a closure force applied to the spout and the letters in Fig. indicate an opening force applied thereto. Thus, the letters C indicate the direction in which a compressive force must be applied to collapse the suction cups 11 and 12 and to seal the longitudinal dispensing passage which extends from the container 9, through the skirt 8, between the faces of the suction cups 11 and 12, and out of the aperture bounded by the margins 17. This compressive force may be applied with the thumb and forefinger of one hand so as to leave the other hand free to hold a tooth brush, shaving brush, bandage, drinking glass, or the like. As these suction cups 11 and 12 are pressed into direct abutment with the entire peripheral margins thereof also in abutment, the material which hitherto has been located between the faces of the cups is either forced out the top through the opening bounded by the margins 17 or back into the neck of the container past the margins 15. When the thumb and forefinger are released, the suction cups stay collapsed and together and the pressure within the container maintains the spout in the closed position of Fig. 6. Further, it is to be noted, this closed position hermetically and positively seals the container against contamination, evaporation and deterioration. This factor is of importance when the merchandise in the container 9 is evaporative or subject to deterioration by exposure to the atmosphere.
When the dispensing spout is to be opened after the initial or first opening thereof, a compressive force is applied at right angles to the closure compressing force as shown by the arrows O--O in Figs. 3 and 5. This force distorts and bends the walls of the elastic envelope 7 and the suction cups 11 and 12 then pop open and move apart so the dispensing spout elements once more may assume the position of Fig. 3. The contents of the container 9 then may be dispensed either by inverting the container or, where this container is a tube, by squeezing on the same causing the contents to issue through the interior of the skirt 8, past the concave faces of the cups 11 and 12, and out through the opening bounded by the margins 17.
In accord with the objects of my invention, it will be seen that I have provided a suction cup dispensing spout which can be used in conjunction with collapsible tubes or with other containers filled with a variety of or with diverse materials. This dispensing spout, by reason of the thin rupturable membrane which closes the outlet end of the spout after packaging and during marketing,
will protect the contents of the container against evaporation, contamination, or spillage. By thus eliminating the necessity for collapsing the suction cups prior to marketing and shipping, a more eflicient, less expensive and more attractive packaged product is provided.
1. A dispensing spout operable between an open and a closed position, comprising a pair of mated closure elements arranged in face to face relationship and having coinciding peripheral margins, at least one of said closure elements being an elastic collapsible suction cup, a skirt pendent from said mated closure elements, the lateral peripheral margins of said mated closure elements being relatively stitf and in sealing abutment and the end peripheral margins normally being spaced to define a longitudinal, end to end, dispensing passage intermediate the closure elements, through said skirt, and concordant with said open position, the end peripheral margins at one end of said mated closure elements being joined by a thin imperforate membrane rupturable by digital, externally applied pressure producing distortion of said opposed lateral peripheral margins.
2. An elongated dispensing spout operable between an open and a closed position, comprising a pair of mated closure elements arranged in face to face relationship and having coinciding peripheral margins, at least one of said closure elements being an elastic collapsible suction cup, a skirt pendent from said mated closure elements, the lateral peripheral margins of said mated closure elements being relatively stiff and in sealing abutment and the end peripheral margins normally being spaced to define a longitudinal, end to end, dispensing passage intermediate the closure elements, through said skirt, and concordant with said open position, the end peripheral margins at one end of said mated closure elements being joined and the normal spacing thereof being bridged by a thin rupturable membrane which is made integral with the remainder of the dispensing spout and which is rupturable by externally applied digital pressure producing distortion of the lateral peripheral margins of said mated closure elements.
3. A suction cup dispensing spout operable between an open dispensing position and a closed sealing position, comprising an elongated elastic envelope having spaced longitudinal wall members terminating with an inlet end and an outlet end, said outlet end being closed by and said wall member being joined by a thin imperforate rupturable membrane which is integral with the remainder of said envelope, a pair of relatively stiff collapsible concave suction cups carried in contiguous mated relationship by said wall members adjacent said envelope outlet end and having coinciding peripheral margins, the lateral peripheral margins of said suction cups coinciding and the end peripheral margins being separable to bound a longitudinal dispensing passage through said envelope intermediate said wall members and suction cups concordant with said open dispensing position, said closed sealing position being effected by the compressive collapse of said suction cups together with the direct abutment of said end peripheral margins, said open dispensing position selectively being effected by the movement of said suction cup lateral margins toward one another to break the vacuum-type suction existing thereacross, said thin membrane being rupturable under the influence of externally applied digital pressure producing distortion of said suction cups and an initial movement of the suction cup lateral margins toward one another.
References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,036,621 Brunetti Apr. 7, 1936 2,401,617 Cochran June 4, 1946 2,550,132 Woods Apr. 24, 1951 2,623,663 Gassaway Dec. 30, 1952 2,663,461 Brown Dec. 22, 1953