US 2937391 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
May 24, 1960 L. G. PHILLIPPS 2,937,391
BALL-TYPE APPLICATOR ASSEMBLY Filed July 3, 1957 INVENTZDR.
LEONARD 6. PHILLIPPS BY W.A. SCHAICH J. RALPH Hose ATTORNEYS U i d e P t n v 2,937,391 BALL-TYPE APPLICATOR ASSEMBLY Leonard G. Phillipps, Toledo, Ohio, assignor to Owens- Illinois Glass Company, a corporation of Ohio Filed July 3, 1957, Ser. No. 669,854
11 Claims. (Cl. 15-132-7) This invention relates to an improved ball-type appli- I cator assembly and closure combination suitable for attachment to the dispensing end of a bottle or other similar container, and for the transference of the contents of such bottle or container onto a selected surface in controlled amounts and in a smooth and uniform manner.
The general concept of mounting a rotatable ball applicator over the dispensing end of a suitable container in order to facilitate application of the containers contents in controlled and uniformly distributed quantities by merely inverting the container and rolling the ball in contact with the surface to which application is desired is not new. Such applicators have been utilized in the past quite extensively, particularly for the application of thin films of such fluid substances as perfumes, deodorants, medicaments, mucilage, and other various substances which, generally, it is desirable to apply in limited and controlled amounts. 7
One type of mounting arrangement, following this concept and heretofore employed quite extensively to mount the applicator ball, utilizes a resilient annular housing or fitment which is conventionally fabricated from a plastic material and which, in addition to being attachable to the dispensing end of the container, is shaped to surround and house the applicator ball in loose ball and socket relationship. However, due to the generally loose confinement of the applicator ball within the fitment, it has been found necessary to provide some additional means of preventing leakage and evaporation of the containers contents while the applicator is not in use. In some instances, such a preventative measure has been accomplished by laterally compressing the fitment into sealing contact with the surface of the ball. Conventionally, this compressive force has been derived from the provision of a hollow closure which is attachable to the dispensing end of the container, and which, when so attached, laterally compresses or squeezes the fitment inwardly into contact with the balls surface. However, a seal produced in this manner, in addition to being quite diflicult to effectively obtain, also requires that a precise dimensional relationship be maintained between the component fitment, ball applicator, closure, and container. Furthermore, that portion of the fitment which is compressed against the surface of the ball is repeatedly squeezed and pinched during recurrent .attachment and removal of the closure, incident to ordinary use of the applicator, and tendsto reduce the pliability and sealability of the sealing surface of the fitment and, hence, the effectiveness of the seal is gradually reduced. t
Accordingly, it is an object of the'p'resent invention to provide an improvedball-type'applicator assembly'char-. a'cterized by a novel construction, which functions to obviate the necessity of laterally compressing or squeezing the fitment against the surface of the applicator ball in order to achieve a sealing contact between the ball and fitment.
Anotherobject of this'invention is to provide anim-v and ball will, in response to such attachment, shift axially. V
A 2,937,391 Patented May 24, 1960 proved ball-type applicator assembly which'is susceptible to limited axial movement relative to the dispensing end of the container upon which it is adapted to be mounted, in order to permit the fitment to move axially between a dispensing position facilitating a smooth and uniform application of the containers contents and a sealing position, effecting a tight seal capable of preventing objectionable leakage or evaporation of the containers' contents.-
A further object of the present invention is to provide an improved retaining fitment for mounting an applicator ball in axially aligned and spaced relationship relative to the dispensing end of a container and, further, to provide the retaining'fitment with a flexible internal ball support capable of supporting the applicator ball out of sealing position when application of the containers contents is desired, and shifting said applicator ball into sealing position when such application is not desired.
A still further object of the present invention is to pro vide a retaining fitment having the characteristics of the above-mentioned objectives, and which is adapted to function in such manner that the fitment and ball support will move in generally opposite directions and thereby flexibly shift the applicator ball axially into and out of sealing engagement with said fitment in direct response, respectively, to the recurrent attachment and detachment of a removable hollow closure provided for the dispensing end of the container.
The specific nature of this invention, as well as other objects and advantages thereof, will become apparent to those skilled in the art from the following detailed description, taken in conjunction with the annexed drawings on which, by way of example only, are illustrated the preferred embodiments of this invention.
On the drawings:
Fig. 1 is an elevational view of a bottle or other similar dispensing container, on the dispensing end of which there is illustrated in vertical section, an assembled applicator ball, retaining fitment, and closure, the assembly being represented with the closure loosely attached to the container.
Fig. 2 is a view taken along the line 2-2 in Fig. 1, and having the applicator ball removed from the fitment for purposes of clarity of illustration. 7
Fig. 3 is .an enlarged, fragmentary view of the embodiment illustrated in Fig. l, and showing the various elements thereof in clearer detail.
Fig. 4 is an enlarged, fragmentary view similar to Fig. 3, but, for purposes of comparison, illustrating the functional aspect of the assembly when the closure is tightly attached to the'container.
Figs. 5, 6, and 7 are enlarged, fragmentary views illustrating respectively, three modifications of the present invention;
The'general arrangement of the various members comprising the present invention is illustrated in Fig. 1, and includes 'a bottle 10 or other similar dispensing container, having a reduced diameter dispensing end 10a mounting a cylinder or tubular fitment 12 in which there'is loosely confined. for universally rotatable movement a spherical applicator ball 11, which has a segment of its surface, as at 11a, protruding axially outward from the fitment to permit direct contact of the ball with the surface to which the bottles contents are to be transferred. Enclosing the. assembled ball and fitment and providing protection thereto there is a hollow closure 13, which attachable to'the dispensing end ofthe bottle in such manner that it may be readily removed when application: of the bottles contents is desired. Additionally, the closure isadapted to cooperate with the assembled litment and ball in such manner that, as the closure issat v tached to the dispensing end of the bottle, the fitment into mutual sealing engagement to thereby effectively prevent leakage or evaporation of the bottles contents when the applicator is not being utilized. In opposite manner, and as illustrated, the closure is also adapted to cooperate with the various assembled members so that the ball and fitment will withdraw from sealing engagement as the closure is unloosened from the dispensing end of the bottle, and thereby permit application of the bottles contents. This novel sealing feature, together with the various modifications thereof, will be fully described in the ensuing detailed description.
With reference to Fig. 3, and describing the invention in greater detail, the bottle may be fabricated from glass, plastic, metal, or other suitable material capable of retaining a fluid or liquid substance therein. As illustrated, the reduced diameter dispensing end 10a of the bottle forms at its upper end an outwardly directed radial retaining lip forming flange or rim 10b, and merges at its lower end with an enlarged diameter externally threaded portion 100, which is spaced axially below and extends laterally outward beyond the edge of the retaining rim.
The applicator ball 11 is mounted above the dispensing end of the bottle 10, and in spaced axial alignment therewith, to receive the contents of the bottle as they are dispensed. Preferably, the applicator ball 11 is fabricated from glass, plastic, metal, or a like material into a rigid spherical body having a smooth exterior surface capable of being rolled in direct contact with the human skin without causing resultant irritation or discomfort.
The resilient holder or fitment 12, mounting the ball 11 in the above described manner, is preferably fabricated from polyethylene or other material having similar characteristics of flexibility, resiliency, and pliability, and defines a cylindrical or annular configuration. The lower axial end portion 12a of the fitment is telescopically mounted over the dispensing end 10a of the bottle and defines an annular groove 12b on its interior surface, accommodating the retaining rim 10b in snap-fit relationship; the width of the groove being substantially wider than the rim to permit sliding up and down axial movement of the fitment while snapped over the rim. Overlying the dispensing end 10a, there is a perforate flexible flange or ball support 12c, gravitationally supporting the applicator ball 11 out of contact with other portions of the fitment. The ball support is integrally formed on the interior surface of the fitment 12 and may be of annular shape, as illustrated in Fig. 2, or, alternatively, may comprise a plurality of spaced finger- ]ike members, as for example, in Fig. 7, wherein three such members 12m are shown in evenly spaced relationship. Also included in the interior surface of the fitment, there is an annular sealing surface 12d formed at the outer axial end of the fitment and encompassing an upper segment of the applicator surface in proximately spaced relationship, while permitting a minority portion of the ball to protrude outwardly from the end of the fitment to function as an applicating surface 11a. Integrally formed on the exterior surface of the fitment, there is an annular shoulder 12e defining an upwardly facing surface 12 which, when depressed, will cause the fitment to slide axially downward over the retaining rim 10b.
The flexible flange or ball support 120 is formed with a depending bulbous underportion 12g, which may be located at the inner end of the ball support, as illustrated in Figs. 1, 3, and 4. As represented in Fig. 3, the bulbous portion 12g defines a rounded lower surface 12h resting upon the top surface of the bottles dispensing end 10a and supporting the remainder of the ball support in a position axially spaced above the dispensing end. When the bulbous portion is formed on the inner end of the ball support in this manner, the ball 11 may be supported directly upon an inner, upper surface thereof, as at 12:. Alternatively, the depending bulbous portion may be formed at a location intermediate the inner and outer ends of the ball support, as illustrated in Fig. 5, at 12 and in such instance the inner end of the ball support itself serves as a seat for the ball, as at 12k. It is also contemplated that, in certain instances, the bulbous underportion of the ball support may be replaced by an annular bead 10d, as illustrated in Fig. 6, which is integrally formed on the top surface of the dispensing end 10a, so as to underlie the ball support 12c. Regardless of which of the above constructions is utilized, however, the functional aspects of the present invention remain substantially unchanged.
Comparing Figs. 3 and 4, it will be observed that the assembled ball 11 and fitment 12 may be shifted axially from a position corresponding to the normal applicating position of the ball 11, as shown in Fig. 3, to a sealing position, indicated in Fig. 4, in which the ball and fitment are positioned in sealing contact at the annular sealing surface 12d. Similarly, the assembled ball and fitment in the modifications represented by Figs. 5 and 6 are axially shiftable from an applicating position, indicated by solid lines, to a sealing position, indicated by broken lines; suitable provision for inducing such axial shifting movement in each instance being provided by the closure 13.
The closure 13 is formed with a generally conventional cup-shaped configuration and is adapted to freely surround and isolate the assembled ball 11 and fitment 12 together with the contents of the bottle from the atmosphere during periods of non-use. The closure preferably may be molded from glass, plastic, or other suitable material, and is formed with conventional internal threads 13a adapted to engage with the threaded portion of the container. Integrally formed on the interior surface of the closure there is a rigid downwardly facing rib 1312 which is adapted to engage and depress the upwardly facing surface 12f of the shoulder as the closure is threadably tightened onto the bottle '10.
As illustrated in Fig. 3, when the closure 13 is partially removed or unloosened from the bottle 10, the rib 13b becomes disengaged from the upwardly facing surface 121 of the shoulder but, as illustrated in Fig. 4, when the closure is threaded tightly onto the bottle, the rib 13b contacts and displaces the upwardly facing surface 12; axially downward, thereby forcing the fitment 12 to slide down over the retaining rim 10b and assume the depressed position illustrated. The attendant axial movement of the ball support 120, however, is restricted by the depending bulbous portion 12g, with the result being that the ball support is caused to flex axially upward and concurrently pivot the bulbous portion 12g in an inwardly and upwardly direction upon the top surface of the dispensing end 10a. This pivotal movement of the bulbous portion 12g, in turn, gradually raises the applicator ball 11 axially upward and away from the bottle 10, and into sealing contact with the descending sealing surface 12d of the fitment 12, which concurrently is being shifted axially toward the bottle.
In the modification referred to in Fig. 5, the bulbous portion 121' will function in such manner that, as the fitment 12 is depressed, the ball support 12c will flex and pivot thereover and cause the inner end 12k of the ball support to shift upwardly to thereby urge the applicator ball 11, seated thereon, into sealing contact with sealing surface 12d. As illustrated, by spacing the bulbous portion 12 outwardly from the ball, it is possible to obtain a greater degree of displacement of the applicator ball 11 than is normally achieved when the bulbous portion is located at the inner end of the ball support, as shown in Figs. 1-4.
In the modification of Fig. 7, the bulbous portion 12m is formed on support legs 12m.
In Fig. 6, the sealing contact is achieved in a manner comparable to that shown in Fig. 5, with the exception being that the function of the bulbous portion on the fitment is provided by the annular bead d formed on the top of the dispensing end 10a which serve s to flex the inner end of the ball support upwardly as the closure 13 depresses the fitment 12.
From the foregoing description, it will be apparent that the applicator assembly herein disclosed, together-with its various modifications, will function to permit a smooth and uniform filn1 or layer of fluid to be transferred from the bottle onto a selected surface when the closure is removed from the container, and yet permit an effective and reliable fluid impervious seal to be formed between the ball and the fitment when the closure is threaded onto the bottle, this seal being formed in direct response to the tightening of the closure onto the bottle. The resulting seal is produced by tensile expansion of the fitment lip in contrast to the conventional compression of such lip.
It will, of course, be understood that the various details of construction may be modified through a wide range without departing from the principles of this invention, and, therefore, it is not the purpose to limit the patent granted hereon otherwise than necessitated by the scope of the appended claims.
1. In combination, a bottle having a neck defining an opening and external screw threads adjacent said neck, a tubular ball applicator fitment comprising a flexible cylindrical housing having a lower axial end portion telescopically mounted on said neck and capable of limited axial movement relative to said neck, an applicator ball within an upper portion of said housing, said housing having a continuous internal annular sealing surface, at its outer end normally loosely confining said applicator ball within said housing, a flexible perforate ball support formed Within said housing and normally supporting said ball out of contact with said neck, said support being flexible in a generally axial direction between a sealing posi tion supporting said ball in firm sealing contact with said sealing surface and said normal position supporting said ball in proximately spaced relationship relative to said sealing surface and with an upper portion of said applicator ball protruding outward from said upper end of said fitment, an annular upwardly facing shoulder formed on the exterior of said housing, a hollow closure threadably attachable to said screw threads to enclose the assembled ball and fitment, means within said closure engaging said housing shoulder and moving said fitment axially downward relative to said neck as said closure is being threaded onto said screw threads, and means operative between said ball support and said neck to flex said ball support toward said sealing position to bring said ball and said. annular sealing surface into firm sealing contact when said closure is threaded on said bottle.
2. The combination defined in claim 1, wherein said last-mentioned means comprises an upwardly projecting annular rib on the axial end surface of said bottle neck engaging said support to thereby responsively pivot said support flexibly into sealing position as said closure is being threaded onto said neck.
3. The combination defined in claim 1, wherein said last-mentioned means comprises a depending annular rib overlying the axial end surface of said bottle neck to thereby responsively pivot said support flexibly into sealing position as said closure is being threaded onto said neck.
4. An applicator assembly for a dispensing container having a neck defining a dispensing opening and an externally threaded portion, comprising an annular applicator fitment fabricated from resilient material and having a lower axial end telescopically mountable on said neck for limited axial movement of 'said fitment relative to said neck, an applicator ball located within an upper portion of said fitment, said fitment having an upper axial end decompassing a segment of said ball and confining saidball within said fitment, an axially flexible perforate ball sup"- port formed on the interior surface of said fitment and gravitationally supporting said ball for universal rotatable movement, said support being flexible in a generally axial direction between a sealing position supporting said applicator in firm sealing contact with said sealing surface and a normal position supporting said applicator in proximately spaced relationship relative to said sealing surface and with an upper portion of said applicator ball protruding outward from said upper end of said fitment, said supporthaving a downwardly facing surface adapted to overlie said neck and to cooperatewith said neck to axially flex said support from said normal position to said sealing position during downward axial movement of said fitment, a shoulder projecting laterally outward from'the exterior surface of said fitment, a hollow closure forenclosing said assembly and adapted to threadably engage said container neck, and means formed on the interior surface of said closure for selectively engaging said shoulder and moving said fitment axiallydownwardas said closure is being threaded onto said neck, to thereby bring said sealing surface into firm sealing contact with said ball. V
5. An applicator assembly for a container having a neck defining a dispensing opening and an externally threaded portion, comprising an applicator ball, an annular applicator fitment fabricated from resilient ma terial and housing said applicator ball within an upper portion thereof, said fitment having an axial lower end telescopically mountable on said neck and axially movable relative thereto, and an axial upper end confining said ball within said fitment, said upper endhaving a continuous annular internal sealing surface encompassing a minor segment of said ball, an axially-flexible perforate ball support projecting inwardly from the interior surface of said fitment and gravitationally supporting said ball for universally rotatable movement, said support being flexible axially between a sealing position supporting said applicator ball infirm sealing'contact with said sealing surface and a normal position supporting said applicator ball in proximately spaced relationship relative to'said sealing surface and with an upper'portion of said applicator ball protruding outward from said upper end or said fitment, said support having a depending bulbous portion adapted to rest on the axial end surface of said neck, an annular upwardly facing shoulder formed on the exterior surface of said fitment, a hollow internally threaded portion, comprising an applicator ball, an an-' nular applicator fitment fabricated from resilient material and housing said applicator within an upper portion thereof, said fitment having an 'axial lower end telescopically mountable on said neck and axially movable relative thereto and an axial upper end receiving an upper portion of said ball therethrough and confining said ball within said fitment, said upper end having a continuous annular internal sealing surface encompassing an upper minor segment of said ball, an internally projecting annular flange formed on said fitment and adapted to overlie the top surface of said neck and to contact the lower portion of said ball, said flange having a depending portion on its inner end adapted to rest upon said neck and space the remainder of said flange above said neck, an external shoulder formed on said fitment, a hollow internally fining a continuous internal annular sealing surface enthreaded closure for enclosing said assembly and adapted t9 threadably engage said neck, and means Within said closure engageable with said shoulder to flex said internal flange by depressing said fitment as said closure is threaded onto said neck, thereby producing a firm sealing engagement between said ball and said sealing surface.
7. An applicator assembly for a container having a neck defining a dispensing opening and a threaded exterior portion, comprising an applicator ball, an annular applicator fitment fabricated from resilient material and hous ing said applicator within an upper portion thereof, said fitment having an axial lower end telescopically mountable on said neck and axially movable relative thereto and an axial upper end confining said ball within said fitment, said upper end having a continuous annular internal sealing surface encompassing an upper minor segment of said ball, an internally projecting perforate support formed on said fitment and adapted to overlie the top surface of said neck and to contact the lower portion of said ball, said support having a bulbous inner end portion adapted to rest upon said neck and space the remainder of said support above said neck, said bulbous-portion being provided with an upper surface gravitationally supporting said ball for universally rotatable movement in a normal position spaced from said sealing surface and with an upper portion of said applicator ball protruding outward from said upper end of said fitment, an external shoulder formed on said fitment, a hollow internally threaded closure for enclosing said assembly and adapted to threadably engage said neck, means within said closure engageable with said shoulder to depress said fitment and fiex said internal support by pivoting same upwardly about said bulbous portion as said closure is threaded onto said neck, thereby producing a firm sealing engagement between said ball and said sealing surface.
8. The combination defined in claim 7, wherein said internal support comprises a plurality of spaced fingerlike members, each respectively having a bulbous inner end portion supporting said ball and adapted to rest upon said neck.
9. A ball applicator unit for a container having a neck defining a dispensing opening and an externally threaded portion below said neck, comprising an applicator ball, an annular ball retaining fitment fabricated from resilient material, having one axial end thereof telescopically mountable on said neck and axially movable relative thereto, the other axial end of said fitment receiving an upper portion of said ball therethrough and defining a continuous annular internal sealing surface of less diameter than said ball and encompassing an upper segment of same, an internally projecting perforate ball support integrally formed in said fitment and adapted to overlie the top surface of said neck and to contact the lower portion of said ball to normally support said ball for universally rotatable movement in a position spaced from engagement with said sealing surface, spacer means for disposition between said support and said neck top surface to position said support in spaced relationship to said neck top surface, a hollow internally threaded closure for enclosing said fitment and adapted to threadably engage said threaded portion of said container, means within said closure engageable with said fitment to axially de press said fitment as said closure is threaded onto said container, thereby pivoting said internal support about said spacer means to relatively shift said applicator ball and said sealing surface into firm sealing contact.
10. In a ball applicator and container assembly, a container having a mouth positioned uppermost and a lip forming flange projecting radially outward at the mouth, external screw threads below said mouth, the applicator comprising a holder having an axial vertical opening therethrough with a circumferential groove in its inner surface for holding engagement with the flange just below the lip, there being a top wall for the groove adapted to overlie the lip, and said holder also having resilient legs extending downwardly from said top wall of the groove for contact with the lip around the inner edge of the latter, said holder having a normal clearance from the lip except at said legs and said legs constituting the sole support of the holder from the lip when the holder is undistorted, a ball within the holder and retained thereby by contact with said legs under the ball and by an annular sealing surface above and of lesser diameter than the equator of the ball through which a minor exposed por tion of the ball projects for contact with a work surface, said ball having running clearance from the sealing surface when the holder is undistorted and free to rotate therein, a circumferentially extending shoulder on the outside of the holder, and a cap with threads that screw over said external threads on the container, said cap having an abutment surface thereon in position to contact with the shoulder and to move the holder downwardly and the top wall of the groove into contact with the lip whereby the legs are distorted upwardly with respect to the sealing surface to lift the ball to seal the running clearance between the ball and the sealing surface.
11. The ball applicator assembly described in claim 10 and in which the holder is made of resilient material and the ball is of stiff material.
References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,641,788 Sudbeaz June 16, 1953 2,749,566 Thomas June 12, 1956 FOREIGN PATENTS 759,683 France Nov. 23, 1933