US 3087656 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
April 1963 F, E. DOUGHERTY 3,087,656
SQUEEZE CAP FOR DISPENSING LIQUID IN DROP UNITS Filed March 31, 1961 INVENTOR ATTORNEYS United States Patent 3,087,656 SQUEEZE CAP FOR DISPENSING LIQUID IN DROP UNITS Frank E. Daugherty, Mays Landing, N.J., assignor to Dougherty Brothers, Inc., Buena, N.J., a corporation of New Jersey Filed Mar. 31, 1961, Ser. No. 99,792 2 Claims. (Cl. 222-518) This invention relates to squeeze caps for dispensing liquids in drop units from containers.
The general object of the invention is to provide a cap attachable to the mouth of a container and normally actuated when a container is in such position that the cap is below the body of a contained liquid, in which an outer flexible member when squeezed, acts upon a surrounded valving member, in such manner as to cause the valving member to react by withdrawing a valve portion thereof from its seat surrounding a discharge opening in said flexible member.
Another object of the invention is to provide a squeeze cap as described in which the normal functioning of the cap is devoted solely to operating the valve and not to ejecting the liquid by displacement, the discharge of liquid being gravitational.
A further object of the invention is the provision of a squeeze cap as described in which the valve seats upon the inner side of the rim of the discharge opening in the cap, the surrounding wall of said opening which lies outwardly of the valve seat defining a chamber in which each drop lingers, held by surface tension, until displaced by a succeeding drop. In this way a single drop is discharged for each squeezing impulse so that the drop dosage may be precisely controlled by counting the squeezing impulses.
Other objects of the invention will appear as the following description of a practical embodiment thereof proceeds.
In the drawing which accompanies and forms a part of the following specification:
FIGURE 1 is a perspective view of a squeeze cap which embodies the principle of the invention, the upper part of said figure showing the external nozzle member, the lower part showing the valving unit, the two members being shown in separated coaxial relation.
FIGURE 2 is a longitudinal section through the squeeze cap taken in an axial plane, in normal, that is, reposed position.
FIGURE 3 is a similar view showing the parts in a position assumed responsive to squeezing.
FIGURE 4 is a section taken along the line 4-4 of FIGURE 2.
FIGURE 5 is a fragmentary sectional view showing the valve closed against an internal seat in the top of the body member.
Referring now to a detailed description of the structure shown in the several figures, the numeral 1 represents the outer or body member as a whole, which has a hard base portion 2 and a flexible nozzle portion 3 preferably integral therewith. The surrounding skirt of the nozzle portion, being flexible, provides diametrically op posite pressure points nad is formed with the opposite flat facets 4 which indicate to the user the points at which the squeezing pressure is to be applied. The outer end of the nozzle portion is provided with an axial discharge 3,087,656 Patented Apr. 30, 1963 ice opening 5 surrounded, within the nozzle portion, by a valve seat 6. The opening 5 is of appreciable depth from the valve seat to its outer end forming a small chamber 5' having a definite function which will be referred to later on.
The base portion of the body member is molded with a bore having a downwardly facing interior circumferential shoulder 7 and with screw threads 8 or their equivalent for coupling the squeeze cap to the complementary mouth of a bottle or can. When the squeeze cap is in coupled position the shoulder 7 is designed to come into clamping contact with the end of the mouth of the container as shown in FIGURES 2 and 3, generally with a washer 20 intervening.
The valving unit which as a whole is designated by the numeral 9, is housed within the body member and comprises a spherical valve 10 cooperating with the valve seat 6 normally to close the discharge opening 5. The valve is connected to squeeze responsive valve operating means 12 by avalve stem 11.
The valve operating means is formed as an arch and as shown has the general shape of the letter M with the top of the letter facing the valved end of the nozzle portion. It may be molded or otherwise constructed of resilient material which when deformed by squeezing recovers its shape when released dimension being the distance between narrowly spaced planes parallel to a plane embracing the axis of the valve stem. Preferably the valve, valve stem and valve operating means are integrally molded of a suitable substance such as polyethylene plastic, in which case the valve stem will be made sufficiently sturdy to effect the necessary valve closing thrust without bending. The valving unit is positioned within the body member 1 with the legs 13 of the arch operatively adjacent the facets 4. Said legs are of equal length and terminate at their lower ends in transverse feet 14, the latter fitting in complementary grooves 15 in the shoulder 7. Said feet are formed with upturned flanges 16 the latter extending into complementary recesses in the shoulder at the ends of said grooves. When the squeeze cap is coupled to the mouth of the bottle or other container the feet of the valving unit are fixedly clamped between the shoulder 7 and the end of the bottle mouth or the washer 20, thus anchoring the valving unit in place.
The middle portion of the arched valve operating means is reentrant, providing the limbs 17 which converge in a downward direction, that is, toward the base of the squeeze cap. The lower end of the valve stem 11 is fixed to said middle portion at the apex of convergence 1 8 of the limbs. The length of the valving unit measured longitudinally and perpendicular to a plane embracing the under surfaces of the feet 14 is such that when the squeeze cap is tightly positioned upon the mouth of the container the valve is normally closed, thrusting with some pressure against the valve seat. Since the nozzle portion of the body member is not of rigid material the valve seat conforms to the valve and a perfect seal results. When the nozzle portion is squeezed in the area of the facets 4, the legs 13 being anchored at their lower ends, swing inwardly toward one another, narrowing the angle between the limbs 17 thereby lengthening the altitude of the triangle formed by the limbs and an imaginary line tangent to the upper ends of the legs, causing the apex to move toward the base portion vholds intacts the surface of the drop,
,ing the loss of the volatiles to that which 2 a thus reducing the overall length of the valving unit and moving the valve to open position. When the squeezing pressure is released the valve automatically recloses.
There is great need and demand for a practical means for dispensing certain liquids such as drugs in doses measured by drops, in view of the potency and expensiveness of such liquids and the necessity of precision in the size of the drops. The usual way of dispensing such doses is by means of a tube of glass or plastic equipped with a small bulb at one end by means of which liquid is drawn up from the bottle and then dispensed in drop form. The amount of liquid drawn up into the bulb is indeterminate due to the inability of the user to expel precisely the same amount of air from the bulb prior to each insertion of the bulb into the liquid. The liquid is ejected by displacement through squeezing the bulb and the user is equally unable to press the bulb with such even pressure that the drops will be expelled discretely so as to be capable of being counted and not to run together and issue as a squirt.
The principle of operation of the device of the present invention is different. The liquid in the bottle is not ex- Ipelled through displacement by reducing the volume of the chamber of the squeeze cap. It is discharged gravitationally. When liquid is to be dispensed the bottle is inverted more or less until the body of liquid is above the squeeze cap. A gravitational head is thus established above the level of the squeeze cap which is the motive force in discharging the liquid. The function of the nozzle portion of the squeeze ca stemming from its flexibility, is solely to open the valve. Since the legs of the operating means are quite, or substantially, contiguous to the wall of the nozzle portion at the indicated pressure points, very little pressure is suflicient to open the valve and it may be permitted to close substantially instantaneously by the relaxing of the squeezing pressure. The timing of the sequential opening and closing phases of the valve may be easily controlled to permit the discharge of a single drop at each opening of the valve, and at such rate of discharge that the drops can readily be counted. As each drop issues it lingers in the chamber 5, until displaced by a succeeding drop, being held by surface tension against the surrounding wall of said chamber.
A liquid which is designed to be dispensed manually drop by drop will usually come packaged in small bottles rarely exceeding three or four ounces in capacity. Such a bottle when inverted will have some air in its uppermost portion and it is the head of liquid between :the plane of the upper surface of the body of liquid in the bottle, and the end of the squeeze cap that causes the :gravitational discharge of the liquid. Due to the small 'height of this head its pressure on the liquid at valve level is slight and less than the force of surface tension that so that progressive diminution of the head pressure as the body of liquid depletes has no appreciable effect upon the size of the .drops, which for a given liquid remains constant.
One of the advantages of the squeeze cap of the present invention is that it closes under pressure resulting :from the inherent resiliency of the valving unit so that .it is able to seal the container under some pressure, thus .retaining volatile constituents of certain liquids, limitmay escape into the bottle, thus lengthening the shelf life of the liquid and its life between uses when the package has passed to the consumer.
FIGURE 2 indicates the use of an additional cover cap 19 to protect the squeeze cap in the vicinity of the discharge opening from dust, and to discourage the drying of liquid with incident accumulation of residue on that part of the nozzle portion which is adjacent the discharge opening. This auxiliary cap may be screwed to the squeeze cap to form an auxiliary seal, guarding against the loss of .such volatile constituents as may develop enough pressure in the bottle to get by the closed valve.
It is in contemplation that the squeeze cap may be sold and distributed in the same package with the bottle or other container but unattached thereto, the container being closed by an ordinary screw cap and it being left to the consumer to substitute the squeeze cap therefor. In such cases it may be of advantage to have the parts of the squeeze cap made unitary. This may be done by cementing the feet 11 to the walls of the grooves 15 in which they fit, or cementing the washer 20 against the interior shoulder 7, imprisoning the feet. The offsetting advanage of leaving the body portion, valve portion and washer separate is that the squeeze cap can be readily disassembled for cleaning.
The present invention is generically similar to the invention disclosed in the application for patent filed in the Patent Oflice August 12, 1960, by Bertram Cholet, for a squeeze cap, with which the present application enjoys common ownership, but is specifically different in that the valve is on the inside of the nozzle portion and opens inwardly requiring specifically different valve operating means and having advantages over the Cholet invention, stemming from the structural distinctiveness.
While I have in the above specification described and disclosed a practical embodiment of the inventive principle, it will be understood by those skilled in the art that the specific details of construction and arrangement of parts as disclosed are by way of example and not for the purpose of imposing any limitations upon the scope of the invention.
What is claimed is:
1. Squeeze cap for enabling the dispensing of liquid from a container solely gravitationally, in manually controlled drop by drop sequence, said squeeze cap comprising, a base portion constructed to be coupled to the mouth of a container and a flexible nozzle portion having an annular end defining a discharge opening and forming a valve seat about the inner end of the discharge opening, a valving unit wholly within said body member including a valve and operating means therefor, said operating means comprising a resilient arch member having opposite legs anchored at their inner ends in the base portion, extending longitudinally within the nozzle portion in operative closeness to the surrounding wall of the nozzle portion, subject to squeezing pressure from opposite sides transmitted through said Wall, said arch member including a transverse bridge joining the outer ends of said legs and being intermediately convergent toward the base portion forming a re-entrant angle, said valving unit including a stem fixed to said bridge at one end at the apex of said angle, the valve being mounted at its outer end, normally in closed position against said seat, said re-entrant angle being collapsible under squeezing pressure transmitted to said legs, thereby shifting the apex of said angle toward said base portion, opening said valve.
2. Squeeze cap for enabling the dispensing of liquid from a container solely gravitationally, in manually controlled drop by drop sequence, said squeeze cap comprising, a base portion constructed to be coupled to the mouth of a container and a flexible nozzle portion having an annular end defining a discharge opening and forming a valve seat about the inner end of the discharge opening, the latter being of substantial depth outwardly of said seat forming a chamber, a valving unit wholly within said body member including a valve and operating means therefor, said operating means comprising a resilient arch member having opposite legs anchored at their inner ends in the base portion, extending longitudinally within the nozzle portion in operative closeness to the surrounding wall of the nozzle portion, subject to squeezing pres sure from opposite sides transmitted through said wall, said arch member including a transverse bridge joining the outer ends of said legs and being intermediately convergent toward the base portion forming a re-entrant angle, said valving unit including a stem fixed to said bridge at one end at the apex of said angle, the valve being mounted at its outer end, normally in closed position against said seat, said re-entrant angle being collapsible under squeezing pressure transmitted to said legs, thereby shifting the apex of said angle toward said base portion, opening the valve to said chamber, in which a drop of liquid, gravitationally expelled beyond said valve, lingers by surface tension until displaced by the weight of a succeeding drop.
References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS Ozanne Mar. 24, 1925 Tappan Oct. 8, 1935 Grammer et a1. Oct. 22, 1935 Hubsehrnan July 22, 1941 Roehrich Aug. 2, 1955 Brown Jan. 10, 1956