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Publication numberUS3062411 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateNov 6, 1962
Filing dateMay 29, 1959
Priority dateMay 29, 1959
Publication numberUS 3062411 A, US 3062411A, US-A-3062411, US3062411 A, US3062411A
InventorsWayne Miles Gilbert De
Original AssigneeColgate Pahnolive Company
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Dispensing valve actuator
US 3062411 A
Abstract  available in
Images(3)
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Nov. 6, 1962 G. DE WAYNE MILES 3,062,411

DISPENSING VALVE ACTUATOR Filed May 29, 1959 5 Sheets-Sheet 1 ATTORNEY Nov. 6, 1962 G. DE WAYNE MILES 3,

DISPENSING VALVE ACTUATOR Filed May 29, 1959 3 Sheets-Sheet 2 IN V EN TOR. G'ILBERTDEMYNE/fl/ZES ATTORNEY Nov. 6, 1962 G. DE WAYNE MILES 3,

DISPENSING VALVE ACTUATOR 3 Sheets-Sheet 3' INVENTOR. GILBERTDEM AYNEM/LES' Filed May 29, 1959 ATTORNEY United States Patent Ofitice 3,062,411 Patented Nov. 6, 1962 3,062,411 DISPENSING VALVE ACTUATOR Gilbert De Wayne Miles, Ossining. N.Y., assignor to C01- gate-Palmolive Company, New York, N.Y., a corporation of Delaware Filed May 29, 1959, Ser. No. 816,768 9 Claims. (Cl. 222-443) This invention relates to a device for attachment to a container of dispensable material for controllably opening a valve to allow dispensing of the contents when desired. More particularly, the invention is an actuator for a dispensing valve of a container of pressurized fluid material which, in one position allows dispensing when it is depressed and in another position, after rotation of a part of the actuator eccentrically with respect to the dispensing valve, prevents the valve from being opened.

Although they are only relatively recently available developments in the packaging and dispensing arts, small, portable, pressurized containers and the dispensing from them of a wide variety of fluid or fluidizable household, cosmetic, detergent, medicinal, sanitary, comestible, industrial, agricultural and other products are now worldwide in extent. A great variety of dispensing valves has been developed to allow convenient and efiicient discharge from the container of the mentioned products which are commonly, albeit somewhat inaccurately referred to as aerosols. Among the most efficient, successful and frequently utilized of these valves is that which incorporates a hollow vertical valve stem coaxial with the container and which opens an internal valve passageway when the valve stem is depressed to allow discharge of the contents through the stem under pressure. Several types of caps and spouts, adapted to fit on either the container or the valve stem, have been used to change the direction of the discharge of the contents and in some instances, to modify or control the type of discharge.

Because aerosol containers are under pressure and the dispensing valve can be opened with a correctly directed actuating force, it has been a problem to prevent unintentional actuation of the valve and the resulting accidental loss of pressurized product. Guard members have been added to the pressurized package to cover the valve and prevent the unintentional spraying of the product. In some instances such guards were movable, sometimes rotatable to another position in which they permitted opening of the dispensing valve.

In addition to the problem of accidental actuation of the valve, the use of pressurized containers has caused other difficulties associated with the position of the valve atop the dispensing container. Whereas, in the ordinary cans normally used in the packing of comestibles and industrial products, the flush ends or end beads of the can permit stacking one atop the other, the most popular design of the aerosol container for easy and efficient dispensing finds the valve at the top of the dispensing container. Such a valve projects past a point at which the container is of its greatest height and thereby hinders stacking, which hindrance, in the case of pressurized products displayed and sold by retail stores, is a serious detriment to their display and sale. Thus, it is seen that the use of a pressurized container involves the problem of loss of stacking ability, as well as that of possible accidental actuation, both of these difficulties being caused by the desirability or necessity of the use of an aerosol valve positioned atop the container and actuatable upon the application of a force, usually downwardly directed. The present invention is primarily an actuator which prevents the accidental discharge of contents by means of a novel and more useful construction than heretofore known and it also includes the provision of means for stacking containers equipped with such actuators or with other upwardly projecting discharge elements.

In accordance with the present invention there is provided for a container having a discharge valve biased closed and movable to open position by an applied force, a dispensing actuator, associable with the container and in such association at least partly rotatable with respect to the discharge valve. This actuator has actuating means and a discharge passage communicable with the interior of the container in one position, in which position the actuating means is movable to engage the discharge valve and to open it when an actuating force is applied to the dispensing actuator. The passage and actuating means are disengageable from the discharge valve and a part of the dispensing actuator is eccentrically rotatable to a position where the actuating means is disaligned with the valve.

In one of several preferred embodiments of the invention there is made of resilient plastic material a two piece spouted dispensing actuator for a conventional aerosol dispensing container. The dispenser to which the actuator is applied is one suitable for containing pressurized fluid material and has at the top of the container a discharge valve with a part thereof, the valve stem, biased upwardly. When the actuator is moved downwardly, in response to a force applied in that direction, the dispensing valve is opened. The dispensing actuator referred to comprises a retaining member and a spouted dispensing mem ber. The retainer is adapted to be applied to the dispensing container at the top thereof and has a central opening in its upper portion through which the dispensing member passes. The retainer holds the dispenser in association with the container and allows it to move axially and rotate eccentrically with respect to the container, retainer and movable discharge valve stem or opening part. Upon rotation the dispensing member may be moved to use position in which the spout projects beyond a side of the container and is communicable with the interior of the container, allowing discharge through the spout when the actuator is depressed to open the discharge valve. When rotated to a guard position the spout projects a shorter distance than in the use position and is non-communicable with the contents because the dispensing passage and actuating means therewith associated are disaligned with the discharge valve stem. The stem cannot be depressed by the downward movement of the actuator because this movement is limited by contact with the retainer before the valve stem is touched. Both the disalignment and projection features of the dispensing actuator in this embodiment are seen to depend on the fact that the spout member is eccentrically rotatable. When moving the dispensing actuator from guard to use position it is advantageous to raise the spout member upward before or during rotation so that the actuating means thereof will not be halted, in a disaligned position, by contact with the side of the valve stem. Such elevation may be effected by intentionally raising the spout before or during rotation but it has been found highly preferable to mold into the retainer one or more inclined planes to automatically raise the spout as it is revolved. By proper choice of the distance between planes they may also be used as indexing or positioning aids so that the dispensing spout fits between them, with a small clearance, in the use and guard positions.

In a further embodiment of the invention provision is made for facilitating stacking of the aerosol containers by providing atop the dispensing actuator a peripheral contact portion made of a relatively soft plastic having a high coeficient of friction. This peripheral section of special plastic may be a part of the dispensing member itself or, alternatively may be on a separate cover member provided for the dispensing container.

The structure, functions and advantages of the present invention will be apparent from reference to the following detailed description of several preferred embodiments of the invention, as now contemplated, taken in conjunction with the drawing in which:

FIG. 1 is a side elevation of a dispensing valve actuator in dispensing position, atfixed to a pressurized container;

FIG. 2 is an exploded or disintegrated view in side elevation of the dispensing actuator, valve and upper portion of container shown in FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a top plan of the dispensing valve actuator of FIG. 1 in dispensing position, atfixed to a pressurized container;

FIG. 4 is an end elevation of the actuator valve and container portion of FIG. 3;

FIG. 5 is an enlarged central vertical longitudinal section of the actuator, valve and container portion taken along plane 5-5;

FIG. 6 is an enlarged central vertical longitudinal section of the actuator, valve and container portion with actuator in guard position;

FIG. 7 is an enlarged top plan view of the retainer portion of the actuator;

FIG. 8 is an enlarged central vertical section of the retainer taken along plane 88;

FIG. 9 is an enlarged central vertical section of the retainer taken along plane 99;

FIG. 10 is an enlarged top plan and FIG. 11 is an enlarged bottom plan of the dispensing portion of the actuator;

FIG. 12 is an enlarged central vertical longitudinal section of the dispensing portion of the actuator along plane 1212;

FIG. 13 is an enlarged top plan and FIG. 14 is an enlarged side elevation of another type of retainer;

FIG. 15 is a top plan of a different embodiment of a dispensing actuator in guard position;

FIG. 16 is a central vertical section of the device of FIG. 15 along plane 16-16, in guard position on a dispensing container, illustrating stacking of another similar container atop this actuator;

FIG. 17 is a top plan view of a dispensing actuator in guard position on a container, having a separate cover to serve as a dust shield and to facilitate stacking; and

FIGS. 18 and 19 are vertical sectional views of the cover device of FIG. 17 taken along planes 1818 and 1919 respectively, the latter view omitting the showing of dispensing container and actuator.

Numeral 31 designates a cylindrical dispensing container for pressurized material. At the top of this can, before attachment of the valve and mounting elements, there is a circular opening defined by head 33 formed by turning outwardly, downwardly and then inwardly the top edge of the container. The container bottom 37 is concave and is joined to the cylindrical wall by conventional means, forming a bottom bead 39.

Afiixed to the top of the container is a dispensing valve 41 comprising a body portion 43, a hollow valve stem 45 containing a small transverse hole 47 and a fiat annular gasket 49 of resilient material. The valve stem is biased upward and the valve is thereby biased closed by an internal spring, not shown. A dip tube 51 is attached to the inlet end of the valve body member to draw off from the container only that material at the bottom of the can. A valve mounting cup 53, containing a central opening to fit over the valve stem 45, is staked to the valve 41 as shown at 55 and 57, and is staked to the can, as shown at 59 and 61. Additionally, lip 63 of valve mounting cup 53 is turned down over bead 33. When valve stem is depressed, hole 47 is moved past gasket 49 and contents of the dispenser are permitted to flow via the dip tube to the valve body, thence through the hole and out through the hollow short tubular valve stem 45. Relaxation of the actuating element allows the stem to rise to where the gasket closes the hole, halting discharge. The

container and valve described above are known in the art and do not, of themselves, form a part of this invention. It is manifest that other combinations of container and valve may be employed with the invented dispensing actuator.

The embodiment of dispensing actuator illustrated in FIGS. 1-12, 17 and 18 is composed of two parts, a retaining member 65 and a dispensing member 67. The retainer 65 has an inwardly directed beaded portion 69 suitably sized and shaped so as to snap fit over lip 63 of mounting cup 53. In the absence of such a lip the retainer bead may fit over bead 33 of container 31. The fit should be snug enough so as to hold the retainer tightly to the container without undesirable rotation during use. The bead 69 illustrated has sloping sides to facilitate snap attachment by mere pressing of the retainer onto the dispenser and, when desired, the retainer may be removed by carefully prying upward. Almost needless to say, the materials of which the retainer (and dispenser) are made should be sufiiciently resilient to permit temporary minor distortion for fitting purposes when it is desired to utilize means of joinder like these described here.

At the top of the cylindrically walled retainer is a flat surface 71 having an opening therein and a vertical cylindrical tube section 73 descending from the opening and of substantially the same diameter as the opening. Tube 73 acts as a bearing and guide for a corresponding vertical tube part or journal of dispensing member 67. Guide bearing 73 is so positioned in retainer 65 that it is eccentric with respect to discharge valve stem 45 when the retainer 65 is snapped into place on the container 31. The eccentricity is the distance between the axes of guide bearing 73 or dispensing member journal 93 and valve stem 45. Because the valve, container and retainer, as illustrated, are coaxial, the eccentricity is also the distance between the axes of the retainer 65 itself, and that of its contained guide bearing 73.

Projecting upward from the top surface of the retainer in what may be considered to be extensions of the bearing 73, is a pair of inclined planes 75 and 77. The planes curve symmetrically about the opening in the retainer, each in an are which is less than a semicircle, leaving distances between them at both ends so that a part of dispensing member 67 may nest or fit between the planes in either use or guard position of the dispenser. In the embodiments of the invention shown in FIGS. 19, 16 and 18 the uppermost parts of the inclined planes are nearer to an external wall 79 or edge 81 of the retainer than are the lower ends of the planes, for reasons which will be apparent later.

Internal bead or flange 83 at the top of the retainer is sufliciently resilient to allow an external bead on a dispensing member journal to be snapped past it. The fiange 83 and inner walls of planes 75 and 77 bear lightly against the journal of the dispensing member, exerting a desirable slight drag on its movement, tending to hold it steady in whichever position it is placed. To more positively hold the dispenser in either guard or use position and also to index the dispensing actuator, grooves or notches 85 and 87 may be made in the internal flange to mate with ribs or other protuberances on the dispenser. Ribs 89 give added strength to the retainer and serve to limit the degree of downward movement thereof, even when the retainer is pressed much harder than necessary, impinging, as they do, on lip 63 of mounting cup 53, thereby preventing accidental actuation of the valve even under such an extreme condition.

Dispensing member 67 comprises a substantially horizontally extending spout portion 91 and a vertically downwardly extending substantially hollow tubular portion or journal 93. At the bottom of cylindrical tube 93 is an external rim )5 which can be pressed and snapped past the corresponding internal retainer bead 83 .to fit the dispensing member to the retainer. Rim 95 and bead 83 are so located on the respective members that vertical or axial movement of the spout member 67 with respect to the dispenser discharge valve 41 is possible. Longitudinal beads 95 and 99 assist in indexing the dispenser in use or guard position by fitting in openings 85 and 87 in retainer 65. When the dispensing member is located between those positions the beads 97 and 59 are parts of the journal 93 which press against bearing surface 73 and internal flange S3 of the retainer, exerting a small but sufiicient frictional drag which tends to hold the dispensing actuator elements steady. Atop the dispensing member 67 is an enlarged flat horizontal finger rest 161 of sumcient area to allow distribution of the required valve actuating force over a substantial part of the finger or thumb area, thus helping to overcome any difiiculty which might be encountered in the actuation of the valve and also helping to minimize finger fatigue sometimes experienced in operating valves of pressurized dispensers.

The dispensing member 67 has within it a passageway 103 through which pressurized material may flow from the discharge valve stem 45 to an outlet N5 where it is despensed for use. In this passage the direction of flow of the dispensed material is changed from vertically upward to substantially horizontal and then downward at a convenient angle. When communicated with an open discharge valve 41 the passage is fluid tight so that the material dispensed does not leak out of the dispensing actuator or between it and the container. Such fluid tight integrity is assured by the leak proof contact between valve actuating means 1&7 and valve stem 45 when the actuator is positioned over the valve stem and dispensing member 67 is depressed by an actuating force applied to finger rest 1M. The fitting surfaces and the inherent resiliency of the valve stem-dispensing actuator combination, together with the actuating force pressing them into contact, may be sufficierit to prevent leakage but to make the connection of valve and dispenser self-aligning and more positively hermetic the illustrated actuator structure is preferably employed.

Actuating means M7 is a short cylindrical portion of the passageway 1G3 having an inwardly extending shoulder or flange portion 109. Shoulder 109 is of such width that the passageway through it is of lesser diameter than the outside diameter of the discharge valve. Preferably, it is of approximately the same dimension as the inside of the hollow valve stem 45. Below the shoulder M9 the actuating means is of inside diameter only slightly more than the outside of the discharge valve. Thus, when the dispensing member 67 is in use position with the valve actuating means 107 above the discharge valve 41, pressing down on the finger rest nu causes the actuating means 107 to encircle the discharge valve outlet 45 and tightly seal the actuating shoulder 109 against the end of the valve. ()pening of the valve then permits the contents to flow through passageway 103 and out of dispensing opening 105.

Adjoining the actuating means m7, within the journal member 93 is another cavity 111, the roof portion of which 113 is higher than shoulder 109. Cavity 111 occupies the internal part of journal 93 except for actuating means 167, and is of sufiicient size and height so that, in guard position, depression of the dispensing member will not cause contact with valve 41 and therefore will not open that valve. It is seen that the under side 115 of dispensing spout 91 abuts retainer top 71 and prevents further downward movement of roof 113 so that the valve 41 cannot be opened in the guard position.

To change the dispensing actuator from use to guard position one need only raise dispenser 67 to disengage valve stem 45 from actuator 167, rotate said dispenser 180 and move it downwardly into contact with the retainer top 71. In this position the spout is nested between the slight upward projections of inclined planes 75 and 77 and is also held by fitting of ribs 57 and 99 in grooves 85 and 87. Although the dispenser will tend to remain in guard position because of the friction between dispenser and retainer previously mentioned, additional means (not shown) may be employed, when desired, to make accidental removal from guard position even more difficult. Thus, spring means or snap contacting of an additional mating ring and groove combination on dispenser and retainer is suitable for this purpose. T o return the dispenser to use position the dispenser is rotated 180. In the embodiment of the invention shown in FIGS. 1-12 it is unnecessary to first raise the spout before rotation back to use position. Either of the inclined planes 75 or 77 automatically performs this function as the spout is rotated. After attaining use position, the dispenser may be pressed gently downward between the ends of the planes, which act as guides and indexing means to indicate presence of the dispenser in use position. Application of an actuating force will then cause dispensing of the contents through spout outlet 105.

The specific embodiment of valve with which the invented actuator has been described herein is one opened by a downward movement of the valve stem. It will be evident that the same type of actuator may be successfully employed with other valves having stems which open when tilted or moved slightly to the side, e.g. diaphragm valves. Either the resilience of the plastic of the retainer and dispenser, or else, specific shaping of one or both of these members will faciltate such sideward actuating movement, in the discharge position. In guard position, after eccentric rotation, the dispenser valve actuator will not be able to effect contact to open the valve.

Due to the eccentricity of the retainer bearing 73 with respect to valve 41, spout 91 will project farther outward from the walls of the dispensing container in use position than it will in guard position. The difference in extension of the spout is twice the eccentricity, where such eccentricity is the distance between the bearing and valve axes. To facilitate packing and to prevent handling damage to the dispensing spout in guard position the end of the spout should projct no farther than the side wall, or in some cases, the bottom bead 39 of container 31. Such construction effectively utilizes the container itself as an additional protective means for the spout, especially during automatic packing and handling.

In the embodiment of the retainer illustrated in FIGS. 13 and 14 the inclined planes are not symmetrically positioned as in the previously described valve actuator. Each of these different planes 117 and 119 rises in clockwise direction. A dispensing member having its lower spout portion in guard position could be raised so that its actuating means would be over the valve stem by rotation in a clockwise direction for half a circle. After lowering it into light contact with the valve it could not be readily disengaged by merely continuing the clockwise rotation because the wall portion 121 of actuating means 107 below shoulder N9 would hinder rotation. To avoid contact with said wall it may be cut away where it would bind against the valve stem or the user can lift the dispensing member slightly to disengage the valve before rotation to guard position. Because the average consumer would not usually bother to raise the dispenser before rotation unless its construction necessitated such action, in ordinary usage the actuating means would soon be damaged. For this reason it is preferred to cut away a part or all of the binding wall section of actuating means 107 if the nonsymmetrical inclined planes are employed.

Although the eccentrically rotatable spout portion of this dispnsing actuator is of such construction as to facilitate rapid automatic packaging of aerosol dispensers already equipped with actuators and, in addition, also contains a self-protecting feature to safeguard against accidental discharge of can contents, in the forms previously described the dispensers equipped with actuators are still liable to one of the disadvantages of aerosol or pressurized packaging. Because of the presence of the valve at the 7 top of a pressurized container it is usually impossible to stack such containers one atop the other. Stacking ability is of great importance for retail display purposes.

It has now been found that acceptable stacking of pressurized containers equipped with the present eccentrically rotatable spouted actuator can be obtained when the finger rest is positioned somewhat above the remainder of the actuator, is of circular shape coaxial with the dispensing container and possesses a peripheral portion of plastic material which will not allow slipping of a metal or other rigid can bottom surface during ordinary stacking. Such plastic is soft and has a high coefiicient of friction. As depicted in FIGS. 15 and 16, finger rest 123 is a flat disc having a diameter about half that of the dispensing container and supported above spout 91 by ribs 125. About the top of finger rest 123 there is inserted or otherwise located an annular peripheral ring 127 of soft organic clastomer or plastic. Instead of inserting it, the plastic ring may also be painted or flowed on the finger rest. The plastic employed should be of such properties, e.g., high coefiicient of friction, so that it may form a stable base for another aerosol container to be stacked on top of it. It is also very helpful if the plastic is elastomeric, possibly because such rings allow a slight but sufficient movement of the containers relative to one another, but return them to original position after vibration, shock or application of a displacing force is terminated. The elasto mers also tend better to conform to the contour of the bottom 37 of the container which is supported by the dispensing actuator and, when the elastomeric plastic rings are continuous smooth surfaces, shaped to fit the stacked container surface, with which they come into contact, this contact is even further improved. To assist in bringing the plastic edge of the finger rest into more intimate contact with the concave bottom of a supported container, in which contact only a peripheral portion of the finger rest bears against the can, the ring may be chamfered or curved, as at 129.

As representative of the class of materials which are acceptable may be mentioned plasticized vinyl, soft or gum rubber and resilient sponge or foam plastics and rubbers. Included are the various synthetic rubbers, such as polybutadiene, polyisobutylene and polychloroprene, as well as the softer natural rubbers, such as Hevea. The coefiicients of friction of these products are very high, similar to that of Hevea or smooth plasticized polyvinyl chloride against smooth steel plate. Their initial moduli of elasticity are below 10,000 pounds per square inch and often below 1,000 pounds per square inch. Other plastics, such as polyethylene, nylon, polystyrene and phenol-formaldehyde or melamine resins are not satisfactory.

Vinyl (plasticized) is a most preferred material of construction for these rings or supporting edges, to some extent because it is moldable to produce extremely smooth surfaces of maximum contactable area along the thin line of contact. It may also be made rigid enough to permit its use for the whole dispensing member, rather than only for the contacting ring portion of the finger piece.

When the dispensing actuator is supporting a plurality of containers, the weight of those containers might sometimes be great enough to cause distortion of actuators made of some of the more resilient or readily yielding plastics. Such distortion, if uneven, could cause the tilting of finger rest 123 and consequent fall of the cans above it. The weight of supported cans might also tend to tilt the finger rest because of play or movement of the dispensing member in the retainer bearing. Ribs 125 and spout 91 at 115 steady one side of the dispensing member and depending partial skirt 131 supports the rests 123 on a side opposite the spout, thus preventing tilting and distortion.

In FIGS. 17-19 the means for supporting additional containers above the dispensing actuator is shown in different form. Here, in guard position of the actuator a cylindrical cover member 133 having an upper peripheral portion 135 of soft elastomeric plastic of high coefiicient of friction is snapped in place with inwardly extending bead 137 gripping retainer 65. Cover 133 is cut out at one side to form an opening 139 which will fit over spout 91. In the drawing the cover member is approximately the diameter of the container. For satisfactory supporting, the peripheral ring of plastic material should be at least about /3 the container diameter and is preferably not more than about /4 of that distance. As illustrated, the plastic of high coeflicient of friction is employed as a peripheral supporting ring but it should be obvious that other structures, e.g., a cap made entirely of such plastic of suflicient thickness to be supporting, may be used, provided only that the peripheral contact between support and supported container is with such material.

In the construction of the present dispensing actuator, (exclusive of the plastic ring mentioned above), it has been found that plastic materials, such as that commonly denoted as high pressure or softer polyethylene, are sufficiently resilient, yet of satisfactory strength. These plastics and other plastics of similar properties, especially thermoplastics, can be relatively easily molded in the shapes shown with integral passageways and actuating parts. It is unnecessary to further machine or modify the molded parts before attachment to the dispenser. Such plastics may be made of attractive colors which are also utilitarian. In a preferred color combination the spout member may be made of a bright color, such as red, while the retainer is a more neutral color, such as white, which blends in with the background hue of the container. The dispensing spout portion of the container is thereby more readily distinguished by the consumer and the color effectively and quickly indicates to him that it is the dispensing spout portion of the actuator which is to be operated to open or close the discharge valve.

After molding of the dispenser and retainer portions of the actuator these are placed on a filled container of pressurized material in guard position. This assembly may be effected either by hand or machine in any of the readily apparent ways. In one such assembly technique the dispensing member is pressed into place on the retainer and the combination is then snap fitted over the lip of the valve mounting cup. If the actuator employed includes no provision for assisting in stacking containers, a cap, such as that shown in FIG. 17-19, may then be snapped into place on the retainer. After the assembly of the aerosol package with the dispensing actuator attached to it in guard position, the package may be packed into boxes or cartons with conventional automatic packing machinery. In guard position the spout extends no farther than the uppermost portion of the container itself and therefore does not hinder packing operations by contacting machine parts designed to fit the container. It is preferred that the spout will not project beyond the vertical wall of the container but, with some machinery, it has been found possible to have it extend as far as the external diameter of the bottom bead of the container without any interference with the packaging operation.

To use a package of pressurized material containing the invented d'spensing actuator only the simplest operations are necessary. If a protective cap has been furnished it is easily removed by a slight prying motion, the cap being so designed that such removal will not tend to disengage the retainer from the container. Next the spout is rotated to use position. Due to the eccentricity of the bearing portion of the retainer, after rotation the spout projects well beyond an extension of the container wall and thereby allows the placement of a receiver under the spout. When shaving lather is being dispensed the fingers may be held under the discharge portion of the spout to receive the lather to be applied. When a dentifrice is being released the toothbrush may be held directly under the spout. Were the discharge of contents to be made with the spout unextended, that is, at a position inside a' projection of the container walls, it would be difiicult to place the fingers, toothbrush or other receptor close enough under the spout because of interference by the container and even the retainer portion of the actuator. In such unextcnded position the container would ahnost invariably have some of the contents deposited on it, leading to unsightly and sometimes unsanitary conditions.

In rotating to use position the dispensing spout is automatically raised by the inclined planes so that the actuating portion thereof will clear the valve stem. After rotation the spout is dropped into place in light contact with the stem and the package is ready for use. When depressed, the dispenser actuates the valve and the shaving cream, dentifrice or other fluidizable contents is discharged for use. As shown in the drawings the contents of the can contact only the dispenser spout passageway. They do not fill the space between mounting cup and retainer in which space there are several elements of the dispensing package which might tend to rust or corrode when in contact with certain formulations to be dispensed. Because the contents pass only through the spout there is no danger of leakage out through joints between the retainer and the can or dispensing spout. Consequently, the retainer and means for aflixing it to other parts of the complete dispensing package need not be fluidtight, permitting significant economies in construction.

To return to guard position the dispensing spout is moved axially upward to disengage from the valve stem and is then rotated. In guard position, even without a protective cap, the contents cannot be dispensed because the dispensing actuator is so positioned that no part thereof can touch and depress the valve stem. The prevention of accidental discharge of contents is of great importance in assuring clean packing of the filled containers, so essentlal to favorable consumer reaction to the product, and also allows handling and transportation of the package by the user without necessity for special care to prevent accidental depression of the discharge valve with resulting loss of contents and often of damage by the discharged contents to items packed with the dispensing container. With the invented actuator in place the consumer can pack various cosmetic and household pressurized products in traveling bags together with closing and other easily damaged materials without any fear of accidental release of fluid. It is not necessary to carry with one an easily lost separate protective cap since the protective means is built into the actuator itself.

The present invention has been described in conjunction with drawings of specific embodiments thereof. The invention is not limited to the specific embodiments shown but, on the contrary, it is obvious that modifications may be made and equivalents substituted without departing from the spirit of the invention or going outside the scope of the claims.

What is claimed is:

1. A dispensing actuator for a container having a discharge valve biased closed and movable to open position by an applied force, associable with the container and in such association at least partly rotatable with respect to the discharge valve, having actuating means and a discharge passage communicable with the interior of the container in one position, in which position the actuating means is movable to engage the discharge valve and to open it when an actuating force is applied to the dispensing actuator, the passage and actuating means being disengageable from the discharge valve and being so located that, with respect to the discharge valve, the actuating means is eccentrically rotatable to a position where it is disaligned with the valve when the rotatable part of the dispensing actuator is rotated.

2. A dispensing actuator for a container having a discharge valve biased closed and movable to open position 10 by an applied force, comprising a retaining member adapted to be applied to the container near the discharge valve and, associated with the retainer, a dispensing member rotatable with respect to the discharge valve, which dispenser includes a spout which is communicable with the interior of the container and through which contents are dispensed when the discharge valve is opened to communicate the container interior with the spout, and also includes movable actuating means for engaging the discharge valve and opening it when an actuating force is applied to the dispenser and only when the spout is in communication with the valve, said means being disengageable from the discharge valve and becoming incapable of opening it when the dispenser is rotated eccena trically, with respect to the valve, to a position where the actuating means is disaligned with the valve.

3. A spouted dispensing actuator for a container of fluid material having a discharge valve biased closed and movable to open position by an applied force, which dispensing actuator is fastenable to the container and movable selectively to use and guard positions, guard position being a position in which the container, with dispensing actuator fastened thereto, can be packed, shipped and handled with little danger of breakage of the spout, little interference with an automatic packing operation and without accidental discharge of fluid contents, the dispensing actuator comprising a retaining member adapted to be applied to a container near the discharge valve and, associated with the retainer and held by it, a spouted dispensing member rotatable with respect to the retainer and container and eccentrically rotatable with respect to the discharge valve to use position in which the spout projects beyond a side of the container and is communicable with the interior of the container so that contents can be dispensed through the spout when the discharge valve is opened, and to a guard position in which the spout projects a shorter distance than in use position and is incommunicable with the interior of the container, the spouted dispensing member including movable actuating means for engaging the discharge valve and opening it when an actuating force is applied to the dispensing member and only when the spout is in communication with the valve, said means being disengageable from the discharge valve and becoming incapable of opening it when the dispenser is rotated eccentrically, with respect to the valve, to a position where the actuating means is disaligned with the valve.

4. A spouted dispensing actuator for a pressurized container of fluid material having a discharge valve at the top of the container, at part of which valve is biased upwardly, closing it, which part is movable downwardly to open the valve upon application of a downward actuating force, the dispensing actuator being fastenable to the container and movable selectively to use and guard positions, guard position being that in which the container, with dispensing actuator fastened thereto, can be packed, shipped and handled with little danger of breakage of the spout, little interference with an automatic packing operation and without accidental discharge of fluid contents, the dispensing actuator comprising a retaining member adapted to be applied to the container at the top thereof, which retainer has an opening through an upper portion and an upwardly extending inclined plane and associated with the retainer, retained by it and partly passing through the opening therein, a spouted dispensing member axially movable and eccentrically rotatable with respect to the container,

retainer and movable discharge valve opening part, to a use position in which the spout projects beyond a side of the container and is communicable with the interior of the container by way of the discharge valve so that contents can be dispensed through the spout when the discharge valve is opened, and to a guard position in which the spout projects a shorter distance than in use position and is incommunicable with the interior of the container, the

spouted dispensing member including actuating means for engaging the discharge valve in liquidtight relationship, depressing and opening it when a downward actuating force is applied to the dispensing member and only when the dispensing actuator is in use position and the spout is communicable with the valve, said actuating means disengaging from the discharge valve, when the spout member is raised, and becoming incapable of opening it when the dispensing member is rotated eccentrically to guard position, reengagement being eflectible by rotation with lifting of the dispensing member followed by descent to use position, the lifting being effected by contact of the dispensing member with the inclined plane during rotation of the dispensing member.

5. A spouted dispensing actuator for a pressurized container of fluid material to be controllably dispensed, which container has a discharge valve at the top, a short tubular portion of the valve being biased upwardly to a position in which the valve is closed and also being movable downwardly to open the valve upon application of a downward actuating force, the dispensing actuator being fastenable to the container and having a dispensing member Which is movable selectively to use and guard positions, guard position being that in which the container, with dispensing actuator fastened thereto, can be packed, shipped and handled with little danger of breakage of the spout, little interference with the operation of an automatic packing machine for cartoning or boxing the filled containers and without accidential discharge of fluid contents, the dispensing actuator comprising a retaining member adapted to be applied to the container at the top thereof, which retainer has a top portion with an eccentrically located hole and, around the hole, two curved, upwardly extending, inclined planes of substantially the same length and radius, the length being less than a semi-circle, and, associated with the retainer, retained by it and passing through the hole therein, a spouted dispensing member, axially movable, concentric with the hole in the retainer and eccentrically rotatable with respect to the container, retainer and movable short tubular portion of the discharge valve, to a use position in which the spout projects beyond a side of the container and is communicable with the interior of the container by way of the discharge valve so that contents can be dispensed through the spout when the discharge valve is opened, and to a guard position in which the spout projects a shorter distance than in use position and is incommnnicable with the interior of the container, the spouted dispensing member including downwardly facing short internally shouldered tubular actuating means for engaging the short tubular delivery portion of the discharge valve in liquidtight contact and for depressing the discharge valve and opening it upon application of a donward actuating force to the dispensing member only when the dispensing actuator is in use position and the spout is communicable with the valve, said actuating means disengaging from the discharge valve when the spout member is raised, and becoming incapable of opening it when the dispensing member is rotated eccentrically to guard position, at which position the downwardly facing tubular actuator is no longer above the short tubular valve discharge portion and the dispensing member cannot actuate the valve, even when depressed past the point at which the valve is actuated when in use position, due to prior abutment with the retainer, reengagement being effectible by rotation, with lifting, of the dispensing member, followed by lowering to use position, the lifting being effected by contact of the dispensing member with an upwardly extending curved inclined plane during rotation of the dispensing member.

6. A spouted dispensing actuator according to claim 4 in which the dispensing and actuating members are separate unitary pieces, each molded of resilient plastic.

7. A spouted dispensing actuator according to claim 5 in which the pressurized container of fluid material to be controllably dispensed is cylindrical, the discharge valve thereof is axially mounted at the top of the container, the container end contains a horizontally disposed beaded portion and in which the retainer part of the actuator comprises an inwardly directed beaded portion to snap fit over the container bead and so hold the actuator to the dispensing container, a pair of symmetrically located curved inclined planes rising from near the top portion of the retainer, having their uppermost parts nearer than their lower portions to the edge of the retainer and having the planes, at their ends, at a distance apart substantially equal to the width of that portion of the spout which can contact said ends and an internal beaded portion at the top of the wall defining the hole through the retainer, and in which the dispensing member comprises a vertical hollow tubular portion with a closed upper end and a sidewardly extending spout portion, the vertical tube having an external bead adapted to snap past the retainer internal bead to hold the dispensing member in axially movable relationship with the retainer, the external wall of the tube being of diameter substantially that of the retainer hole and bearing on the internal bead of the retainer, with the external bead of the tube bearing on the wall of the retainer hole.

8. A spouted dispensing actuator according to claim 7 and adapted for stacking with dispensing containers having concave bottoms, in which, in guard position, the spout rests on and is supported by the retainer top and the dispensing member is also supported by the retainer at at least one other point located opposite in direction to the spout, which comprises as part of the dispensing member, a horizontal disc, coaxial with the cylindrical container when the dispensing actuator is in guard position, of diameter at least about one-third the container diameter and elevated above the spout sufiiciently to make only peripheral contact with the can bottom without obstruction of such contact by the spout, the periphery of the disc being of soft plastic material of very high coeflicient of friction.

9. A valve guard for a dispensing container, adapted, in vertical position, for having vertically stacked thereon another such container, comprising a form-retaining member connectable to the top of a dispensing container so that it substantially surrounds the dispensing means of the dispensing container and projects above it and having at its top a soft plastic material of very high coeflicient of friction of a shape which will conform with the bottom of a stacked container along only a thin line of contact sufficient to hold the stacked containers in vertical position without slipping under minor vibratory shocks and displacing forces.

References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 111,902 Bostwick Feb. 21, 1871 2,598,308 Samuels et al. -a May 27, 1952 2,613,016 Jarrett et a1. Oct. 7, 1952 2,706,660 Johnson et al Apr. 19, 1955 2,752,066 Ayres June 26, 1956 2,761,594 Stroh Sept. 4, 1956 2,766,915 Campbell Oct. 16, 1956 2,887,273 Anderson et a1. May 19, 1959 UNITED STATES PATENT OFFICE CERTIFICATE OF CORRECTION Patent N00 3 062 411 November 6 1962 Gilbert De Wayne Miles It is hereby certified that error appears in the above numbered patent requiring correction and that the said Letters Patent should read as corrected below.

Column 6 line 68 for "dispnsing" read ea dispensing column 8 line 62 for 'd spensing" read dispensing column 9 line 46 for "closing" read me clothing column ll line 29 for "accidentiaU' read accidental n Signed and sealed this 16th day of June 1964 (SEAL) Attest:

ERNEST W. SWIDER EDWARD J, BRENNER Attesting Officer 7 Commissioner of Patents

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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3187757 *Dec 17, 1962Jun 8, 1965J & J Casting IncPlural dispensing units and toilet kit with central compartmented storage member
US3198399 *Oct 5, 1961Aug 3, 1965Valve Corp Of AmericaHand-held aerosol device
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WO1989003363A1 *Sep 26, 1988Apr 20, 1989Calmar IncProduct dispenser having actuator locking collar and shroud
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Classifications
U.S. Classification222/143, 251/100, 222/182, 251/353, 222/536, 222/402.13, 222/402.11
International ClassificationB65D83/16
Cooperative ClassificationB65D83/205, B65D2215/04
European ClassificationB65D83/20C