US 3054405 A
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Sept.- 18, 1962 R. TAPPER ELECTRICAL EPILATOR Filed Sept. 9, 1959 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 FIG. I.
ROBERT TAPPER BY 7 7 f M AGENT Sept. 18, 1962 R. TAPPER 3,054,405
ELECTRICAL EPILATOR Filed Sept. 9, 1959 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 F l G. 5. 4? 2 INVENTOR.
ROBERT TAPPER BY i fm AGENT in is 3,054,45 Patented Sept. 18, 1962 3,654,405 ELECTRICAL EPEATOR Robert Tapper, 7621 Hampton Ave, Los Angeles 46, Calif.
Filed Sept. 9, 1959, Ser. No. 838,865 14 Claims. (Cl. 128303.18)
My invention relates to means for removing hair and particularly according to an individual process upon humans for aesthetic reasons.
Perhaps the most satisfactory method for permanently removing human hair is the electrical method, in which the root or papilla is destroyed. However, considerable pain and possible damage to the of the patient have been undesirable aspects of this process.
I have invented means for accomplishing epilation without encountering these disadvantages.
Briefly, I mount the needle for accomplishing epilation in a resilient manner so that more than a particular force may not be exerted upon it while forcing it through the follicle from the surface of the skin to the papilla. This prevents puncturing the skin adjacent to the follicle. It is not that an operator employing devices of the prior art desires to so pierce the skin, but the forces involved are small and the operator cannot discern between passing the needle within the channel of the follicle or inadvertently piercing one side of it. Since my needle retracts if more than a safe force is used to urge it through the follicle, the operator is alerted to the error in direction and so alters the manipulation for bloodless completion.
A direct current is preferred for electrical epilation, but pain is produced in this process whether the needle is made the positive or the negative pole of the galvanic circuit.
I have found that a low frequency alternation of electric current having approximately a square waveshape when plotted as an amplitude function with respect to time does not produce pain and can be produced with small electrical elements. The alternation of polarity may occur as slow as around one cycle per second and as rapidly as a low audio frequency. I prefer a frequency in the sub-audible range; from one to a few cycles per second. In this range the process of epilation is satisfactory and the sensation of pain is absent. A slight sensation occurs when the polarity changes. By counting these the patient can conveniently time the operation. For example, I have used an alternating frequency of one cycle per second, and in the particular embodiment a treatment of nine seconds was required. The proper timing is obtained by merely counting eighteen impulse sensations. (There are two alternations to each cycle.) In general, with any particular embodiment or situation the frequency of alternation may be chosen diiferently and the duration of the treatment may be different. However, my novel method of timing is effective as long as the alternations do not occur too rapidly to count, or at least to approximately count.
The advantages of my invention may be embodied in numerous ways. Models for one-handed operation with coacting tweezers are one example. Two piece embodiments are also possible. My oscillators may employ transistors and a special capacitor for reducing the sensation mentioned to a desired degree.
An object of my invention is to provide apparatus for epilation that operates at minimum discomfort and possibility of injury to the patient.
Another object is to provide a mechanical structure to most easily and surely reach the papilla of the hair sought to be removed.
Another object is to provide a source of electricity adapted to destroy papilla without the sensation of pain to the patient.
Another object is to provide an epilation device of small size and light weight.
Another object is to provide an epilation device that can be employed for self-epilation by a relatively inexpen'enced operator.
Other objects will become apparent upon reading the following detailed specification and upon examining the accompanying drawings, in which are set forth by way of illustration and example certain embodiments of my invention.
FIG. 1 is a side elevation of an overall embodiment of my invention in two parts; a needle-forceps entity and an electrical entity,
FIG. 2 is a top view of a pistol-grip all-in-one device,
FIG. 3 is a side elevation of the same,
FIG. 4 shows the schematic circuit diagram of a multivibrator electrical oscillator,
FIG. 5 is the same for a phase-shift electrical oscillator, and
FIG. 6 is a simplified form of my invention.
In FIG. 1, numeral 1 indicates the upper side of a pair of tweezers or forceps, and numeral 2 indicates the lower side. A rear insulating block 3 holds the sides of the tweezers in proper spaced relation, the same being fastened thereto by screws or equivalent fastenings 4. Needle sleeve 5 is preferably threaded into insulating block 3, centrally with respect to the two sides of the forceps, and is hollow at the forward or needle end So, which screws into sleeve 5. This contains relatively weak compression spring 6 that may be formed of approximately 25 convolutions of spring wire 0.007" diameter with a free length of a half an inch. This spring exerts a pres-sure of the order of 35 grams when used in epilation. At the forward end of the spring needle-holder 7 is attached and on the opposite end the needle 8 is embedded. The forward end of sleeve 5a is rolled to a smaller diameter than the remainder of the hole therein so that these elements will be retained against the forwardly-directed force of the spring. Alternately, the same structure can be formed by a one-piece needle sleeve 5 if the forward end thereof is rolled to a smaller diameter after the spring and needle needle-holder assembly is placed therein. However, the two piece construction provides easy disassembly for repair.
Needle 8 is prefer-ably of a noble metal and of about 0.005" diameter. Platinum-iridium is suitable. It is desirable that the needle not corrode because of the bi-polar electrical energy that may be impressed upon it, as with the oscillators previously mentioned, and it is desirable that it be stilf and strong for understandable reasons of manipulation. In a representative embodiment the needle is long.
Also, in the representative embodiment of FIG. 1 I prefer to place Teflon of a selection of suitable insulating materials at the extreme ends of the sides of the forceps as shown at 9, 10. It is then possible to employ the sides of the forceps as a switch for energizing the electrical oscillator after the forceps have grasped a hair to be removed and the needle passed through the canal of the follicle and into the papilla. Electrical contact between sides 1 and 2 is made by spring contact element 11. This element is fastened to side 2 and is formed so that a firm pressure on the sides of the forceps is required to close the electrical contact. This can be exerted by the operator, whether this be the patient or another person.
A flexible insulated electrical cable 12 has at least three separately insulated conductors. Two of these, 14 and 15, connect to the sides 1 and 2 of the forceps; one conductor to each side. A third conductor 16 connects to the needle sleeve.
Cable 12 is a foot or so in length and connects to circuit housing 17. The latter contains the electrical source or an alternate of a battery of nine volts for a simplified version. In any event, one terminal of the electrical source is electrically connected to electrically conducting wrist strap electrode 18. This electrode is fastened to the patients wrist and completes the electrical circuit from needle 8 through the body of the patient to the wrist strap. The strap has considerable area and so provides a relatively low resistance connection to the patient, as desired. A slight amount of salt water, or the conductive salve employed in taking electrocardiograms may be used with a smaller surface, such as rendering conductive that part of housing 17 which contacts the wrist. Both the strap and housing may be conductive and the special contact agents dispensed with. The other electrical connection from the output of the epilative electrical circuit, being Wire 16, passes through cable 12 and connects to needle sleeve 5, as has been previously inferred.
Approximately the same functional arrangement of essential elements is to be found in the alternate embodi ment of FIG. 2.
A similar needle 20 of an anti-corrosion conductive material is employed, as before. The forcepshave sides 22 and 23. These are fastened to a projection 24 atop the grip handle 25. This aspect is more clearly shown in FIG. 3. Projection 24 may be metallic, since in this em-' bodiment electrical switching is accomplished by a Microswitch. This is a well-known electrical element and has not been detailed because it is within projection 24. The actuating lever for this switch is element 26, which bears against side 22 of the forceps. When the forceps are squeezed together to grasp a hair to be removed, the electrical circuit'is closed at a desirable degree of compression of the sides of the forceps and the internal spring of the Microswitch causes the circuit to be broken upon the release of this pressure by the operator.
A resilient element 27 is included to provide a limit to the axial force that will be exerted by the needle, as before. A metal spring is shown, but it will be understood that this may be a piece of rubber or some other 7 resilient equivalent. The tube is 21.
Grip25 is hollow, and the electrical circuits forproviding electrical epilative power are contained therein. One connection thereof is made to needle 20 and the other to grip 25. The latter has a large area and the gripping and equivalent connections are made through resistor 36 and capacitor 37 from transistor 31 to the rest of the circuit. Small electrolytic capacitors may be used, since the voltage of battery 32 may be approximately 15 volts.
7 Small batteries of the required type are also available because of the relatively small current taken by the oscillator. For epilation I find that about one milliampere of current at a voltage of 18 volts peak to peak square wave- }shape is proper. Such a voltage is obtained with a batery of only 15 volts because the multivibrator acts as a voltage doubler. V
' I have noted shocks from relatively sharp square waveforms and I remove such sharpness from my multivibrator by an output filter comprised of capacitor 38. This has a capacitance of approximately 50 microfarads and may be realized by connecting two 100 microfarad electrolytic capacitors in opposed polarity in series. This I capacitor is connected between the signal output ends of action of the hand provides good return electrical contact to'the patient, which in this case must also be the operator. An angular crook in the forceps is noted in FIG. 3. This allows a convenient angular aspect between the grip and the needle, allowing one hand manipulation. The thumb V and forefinger of the operators hand-press forcep sides 22 and 23 together, while the palm of the hand 'and the other fingers hold the grip. Alternately,'the angular relation of attachment between the forceps and the grip may be altered so that the forceps are straight but the angular relation is still convenient for epilation. Insulation pieces are 28 and 29, as before. 7 r r p a In the multivibrator circuit of FIG. 4 two transistors 30 and 31 are employed as the active electrical elements. These may be of'various types but the circuit shown is for the NPN type 2N214 or 2N35 The circuit is symmetrical, thus only the components associated with transistor 30 will be described in detail. p
.The emitter E is connected to the negative terminal of 7 battery 32. The positive terminal thereof is connected to collector C of the transistor through output resistor 33, which may have a resistance value of the order of 2,000 ohms, and through the on-oif switch previouslydescribed; as,'forexample, switch 11 and conductors 14 and 15 of FIG. 1. The base B'of transistor 30 is connected to the collector thereof through a resistor 34 of 'a resistance of approximately 50,000 ohms. The base B is also connected to the collector of transistor 31 through a capacitor 35 of approximately 10 microfarads capacitance. Symmetrical the two output resistors 33 and 39. At my low operating frequency the reactance of capacitor 38 is approximately equal (in scalar value) to the resistance of resistor 33 (or 39).
Ineach embodiment employing the multivibrator the electrical output is taken'across the filter capacitor 38, as in FIG. 1 to needle 8 and to the other circuit-completing electrode'18. It will be understood that a low pass filter may be employed as an elaborate alternate to my capacitor 38, but the latter is to be preferred because of simplicity and effectiveness in meeting the requirement.
As an alternate alternating current electrical source the phase-shift oscillator of FIG. 5 may be employed. This operates in thesub-audio frequency range of 0.8 cycle per second. One transistor 45 is employed, and this may be of the 2N2l4 type. The emitter E thereof is connected to the negative terminal of battery 46, which may have an operating voltage of 22 volts. The positive terminal thereof is connected through an actuating switch, such as that identified with arm 26in FIG. 2, to a resistor 47 of 2,700 ohms to the collector C of the transistor. Connected between the positive battery and base B is resistor 43, having a resistance in the fraction of a megohm range. Also connected to the collector is feedback capacitor 49, of the order of 20 microfarads capacitance. This, in turn, connects to resistor'50, having a resistance of the order of 1,500 ohms, the other terminal of which connects to emitter E, and to a second capacitor 51 having the same capacitance as capacitor 49. Capacitor 51 connects to resistor 52, which latter has three times the resistance value of resistor 50. Still another capacitor 53 connects between the junction of elements 51 and 48 and returns phase shifted energy to base B of transistor 45. The capacitance of this capacitor is also-20 microfarads. The instrument 67 and wrist electrode 68' are connected to the output 55. a
This phase-shift oscillator produces approximately a sine waveshape; 'This may be used for epilation, having only the disadvantage that the current is not'at a maximum value for as long a time as it is with thesquare Waveshape. Should a square waveshape be desired with this oscillator, dual biased diodes 69 may be provided at the output 55. These are oppositely poled and limit the tops and bOttOms. of the sinusoidal waveshape to essentially that of a square wave. V
In FIG. 6 a simplified embodiment is shown. This employs only a housing 60, which may be of hollow cylindrical form and contains only a simple source of epilative current, as a battery 66 of the order of 9 volts. One terminal of the battery is connected to the'housing, of which at least a part is conductive on the outer surface: This establishes the return current electrode when held in the hand of the patient-user. V 7
Insulated therefrom is needle-tube 61, which contains needle 62, needle-holder 63, and spring 64, the elements 61, 62, 63, 64 being respectively of the same form and nature as those detailed at 5a, 8, 7 and 6 in FIG. 1.
It will be understood that departures may be taken with respect to details of construction or circuit arrangement without departing from my invention. Certain elements may be interchanged between embodiments; such as employing a Microswitch in FIG. 1. While specific electrical values have been given for numerous components, this was by way of example only, and these values may be altered individually, or in groups, without departing from my invention. Modifications may also be made in the size, proportions and shapes of my embodiments under my invention.
While I have employed alternating currents in my invention, these are of relatively low frequency. This clearly distinguishes my method and apparatus from those employing radio frequency. The much higher frequency of the latter results in epilation by heat and is another process known as thermolysis.
Having thus fully described my invention and the manner in which it is to be practiced, I claim:
1. An electrical epilator comprising a needle, means for slidably supporting said needle, 2. spring positioned to act on said needle but to permit the needle to retract when pressed against the skin of a user while applying a force against the needle sufficient to cause the needle to penetrate into the papilla of a hair, a source of electrical current, means to connect one terminal of said source to said needle, and means to connect the other terminal of said source to the body of the user to provide a return circuit from the needle through the body of the user and back to the other terminal.
2. An electrical epilator comprising a needle, a needle holding stop member on one end of the needle, a coil spring having one end thereof in engagement with said stop member, a tubular member for slidably mounting said needle and needle stop, means to prevent said stop member from leaving the free end of said tubular member, said spring being of such lightness as to permit the needle to retract when pressed lightly against the skin of a user while applying a force against the needle sufficient to cause the needle to penetrate into the papilla of a hair, a metallic support for said tubular member, means to insulate the needle from the support, a source of electrical current, means to conduct current from one terminal of the source to said needle and means to conduct current from the body of the user and back to the other terminal of the source.
3. An electrical epilator comprising a needle, an axially resilient spring in contact with said needle, and of such lightness as to permit the needle to retract when pressed against the skin of a user while applying a force against the needle sufficient to cause the needle to penetrate into the papilla of a hair, a housing, a source of electrical current in said housing, means to electrically insulate the needle from the housing, the terminals of said source being connected respectively to the needle and to the housing to provide epilative electrical current between said needle and the body of the user.
4. The device as set forth in claim 1 wherein the source of electrical current comprises an electrical oscillator having output terminals and a frequency of oscillation of a few cycles per second, and a capacitor connected across said terminals, said capacitor being effective to reduce the sensation of shock to the person being epilated.
5. The device as set forth in claim 1 wherein the source of electrical current comprises an electrical multivibrator oscillator having output terminals and a frequency of oscillation in the sub-audible range, and a capacitor connected across said output terminals, said capacitor being effective to reduce the sensation of shock to said person being epilated by reducing the sharpness of the square wave produced by said multivibrator oscillator.
6. The device as set forth in claim 1 wherein the source of electrical current comprises an electrical multivibrator oscillator having two transistors and a natural frequency of oscillation of the order of one cycle per second, an output resistor connected to each said transistor, a capacitor connected between each said output resistor and having an electrical impedance approximately equal to the resistance of a said output resistor, and means to connect the junction of said capacitor and one said output resistor to said needle, and the junction of said capacitor and the other said output resistor to the body of the person epilated; said capacitor being effective to reduce the sensation of shock to the person being epilated by reducing the sharpness at the corners of the square wave produced by said multivibrator oscillator.
7. An electrical epilative device comprising a needle, a housing means to slidably mount said needle in said housing, said needle being electrically insulated therefrom, resilient means in mechanical contact with said needle to limit the force with which it can be caused to pass through a hair follicle, an electrical source within said housing and comprising a square wave electrical oscillator having an operating frequency in the lower audio frequency range, capacitative means connected to said oscillator to eliminate rapid transitions between the constant and the rapidly changing amplitudes of the electrical energy oscillations of said oscillator to a subpainful degree for the patient while allowing said patient to determine the time of epilation by noting the number of oscillations of said oscillator, and means to connect said oscillator to said needle and to said housing.
8. A device for removing hair comprising a needle and a spring, means to mount said spring in contact with the needle and to have free longitudinal resiliency, a twosection phase-shift electrical oscillator having a sinusoidal waveshape and an operating frequency of the order of one cycle per second, a housing electrically insulated from said needle, and means to connect said oscillator to said needle and to said housing to allow an epilative electrical current to flow from the needle to the body of the user and back to the oscillator.
9. The device of claim 8, in which the oscillator is of the phase-shift type having one transistor active element and two oppositely poled diodes in shunt with the output terminals of the oscillator to limit the sinusoidal electrical output of said oscillator proper to approximately a square wave.
10. The device as set forth in claim 1 wherein the source of electrical current comprises an electrical oscillator having two sections of a resistor-capacitor phase shift network, and a transistor having a collector, base and emitter, said collector connected to one of said two sections, said base connected to the other of said sections and also to said collector, said emitter connected to both said sections and to the body of the patient, said collector connected to the needle, said oscillator constituted to provide a sub-audible frequency of alternating current.
11. The device as set forth in claim 1 wherein the source of electrical current comprises a phase shift electrical oscillator having only two sections of a shuntresistor series capacitor phase shift network, and a transistor having a base, emitter and collector, said collector connected to the first of said two sections through a capacitor, said base connected to the second of said sections and also to said collector through a resistor, said emitter connected to both said sections and to the body of the patient, said collector connected to the needle through a capacitor, all said capacitors having a value in the decamicrofarad range to provide a low frequency alternating current of the order of one cycle per second.
12. A device for removing hair by electrolysis comprising a grip handle, a pair of tweezers attached to said handle and extending away therefrom, needle-holding means attached to said handle between the sides of said tweezers, a needle slidably disposed within said needle-holding means at the extremity of'said tweezers, compressible means within said needle-holdingmeans attached to said needle to restrict the force acting upon said needle as it v is urged through a hair follicle, a switch within said hanpressed together to hold a hair, the extremities of each 7 side of said tweezers having electrical insulation disposed to engage said hair and to insulate said needle from said tweezers, and electrical means for epilation connected to said handle andto said needle, and operated by said switch.
13. A device for removing hair by electrolysis comprising a pistol-grip type handle, a pair of tweezers attached to the top of said handle and extending at approximately right angles to the major axis thereof, a needleholding tube attached to said handle and disposed between the sides of said tweezers, a needle slidably disposed within the extremity. of said tube at the extremity .of said tweezers, a compressible spring within said tube in contact with said needle to limit the force acting upon said needle asit is urged through .a hair follicle to.a
value insut'ficient to pierce skin adjacent thereto as the.
operator urges said needle through said follicle, a microswitch within said handle, an arm attached thereto and bearing upon one side of said tweezers, said microswitch, arm and tweezers mutually disposed to close the electrical contacts of said microswitch when the sides of said tweezers have been pressed together to hold a hair and said needle is'in the papilla'of said hair, the extremities of each side of said tweezers havingelectrical insulation disposed to engage said hair and to insulate said needle from said tweezers, and electrical energy means for epilation'within said handle and electrically connected thereto and to said needle to be put in circuit by actuation of said microswitch. a
' 14. The device asset forth in claim 1 wherein the means for supporting the needle comprises a-housing, and a forceps operatively associated with said housing, the two side members of the forceps being positioned on opposite sides of the needle and with the ends of the side members positioned to engage a hair when the members are pressed thereagainst.
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