US 3110918 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Nov. 19, 1963 c, TATE, JR 3,110,918
ADJUSTABLE TOOTHBRUSH Filed June 2, 1961 20 E 24 g 1mm 53 FIG. 5 Z4 2/ L9 26%2 4 u I, /5 2H m i 2 INVENTOR. CHARLES G. TATE, JR.
ATTNEY United States Patent Office 3,1 W318 Patented Nov. 19, 1963 3,110,918 ADJUSTABLE TOOTHBRUSH Charles G. Tate, Jr., 67 Nichols St., Cranston, RI. Filed June 2, 1961, Ser. No. 114,536 3 Claims. (Cl. 15167) My present invention relates to a toothbrush and more particularly to a toothbrush having adjustable bristles.
The principal object of the present invention is to provide a toothbrush which permits the user to adjust the stiffness of the bristles.
Another object of the present invention is to provide an adjustable toothbrush in which the adjustment can be made quickly and easily by the user.
Another object of the present invention is to provide an adjustable toothbrush having a minimum number of readily assembled parts.
With the above and other objects and advantageous features in view, my invention consists of a novel arrangement of parts more fully described in the detailed description following, in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, and more particularly defined in the appended claims in the drawings.
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a toothbrush imbedding my invention.
FIG. 2 is a section taken on line 22 of FIG. 3.
FIG. 3 is a side elevation partly broken away in sections of the toothbrush.
FIG. 4 is a section taken on line 4-4 on FIG. 3.
FIG. 5 is a plan view of the bottom closure plate.
FIG. 6 is a transverse section of an alternative form of handle construction.
FIG. 7 is a transverse section of the handle taken on line 7-7 on FIG. 3.
While toothbrushes are usually constructed in the same manner, the stiffness of the bristles is a matter of personal choice by the user. Accordingly, most manufacturers make the same model toothbrush in three different types. The bristles are either soft, medium, or hard. The present invention is designed to provide a single model in which the stiffness of the bristle can be adjusted by the user. Furthermore the present invention permits a greater range of adjustments than is possible at the present time.
Referring more in detail to the drawings, the toothbrush of the present invention comprises an elongated handle portion 10 and a head 11 from which the bristles 12 extend. The head 11 comprises an inverted U-shaped housing as shown in FIG. 2. The handle portion 10 is provided with a vertical slot 13 extending from the bottom edge to the central axis of the head portion. The front wall 14 of the housing '11 is provided with a vertical slot 15 terminating in the center of the wall with an enlarged rounded portion 16 as shown in FIG. 4.
The rear end of the handle portion '10 is provided with an offset portion 17 forming a shoulder 18, the offset portion 17 is provided with an integral bump or pip 19 extending outwardly at the edge thereof.
I now provide an elongated rod 20 having a rounded head 21 at the rear end with a diameter equal to the diameter of the handle portion 10. The head 21 is recessed at 22 so that it sets over the offset portion 17 of the handle 10 as shown in FIGS. '-1 and 3. The portion 21 is provided with integral detents which ride over the portion 19 to releasably lock the head 21 in any selected position. Suitable numerals may also be placed around the outside periphery for the guidance of the user. The front end of the rod 20 is provided with a small rotated head 23. In assembly, the length of the rod 20 is such that when the head 21 is positioned over the offset portion 17, the rod will slide upwardly into the slot 13 and the front end will slide upwardly into the slot 15 until the head 23 snaps into the opening 16. The rod 20 will then be tightly held in the position shown in FIG. 3.
Referring to FIGS. 2 and 3 an elongated gear 24 is mounted on the rod 20 within the housing portion 11 and is rotatable therewith. The bristles 12 are elongated and tapered outwardly more than normal to provide a softness to the bristles and enhance the adjustment when they are pulled together. They are mounted in a plate 25 having a vertical portion 26 at one side edge. The plate 25 is of generally rectangular form and adapted to easily fit within the housing 11. The portion 26 extends integrally vertically from one side edge and may be slightly shorter than the plate 25. The portion 26 extends into the housing between the gear 24 and the side wall of the housing as shown in FIG. 2. The inside surface of the portion 26 is provided with horizontal teeth 27 which mesh with the teeth of the gear 24.
With the above construction, rotation of the head 21 istransmitted through the rod 20 to the gear 24. This will cause vertical movement of the portion 26 and plate 25 to move the bristles 12 vertically in and out of the housing 11. Now referring to FIG. 5, I provide a closure plate 28 which is spaced in panallel rows of openings 29 corresponding to the bristles 12. The openings 29 are connected by transverse slots 30 which extendfrom one row of openings to the side edge. The edge portions of the slot are rounded off at 31. One side edge of the plate 23 is also provided with a small rectangular cut out portion 32. The bottom inside edge of the housing portion 11 is provided with grooves 33, see FIGS. 2 and 4. In assembly, since the flared ends of the tufts are larger than the openings 29, the plate 28 is first forced laterally across the bristles '12 sothat the bristles slide through the slots 30 and snap into the openings 29. The plate 28 is then positioned upwardly to snap into the grooves 33. The slots 36 are narrow and normally do not permit the bristles to slip into them. Therefore, it is contemplated that the entire construction be made of plastic material giving the parts the necessary resiliency forthe assembly.
With the parts assembled as described, as the rod 20 is rotated by the head 21 to move the plate 25 upwardly, the bristles 12 will be drawn into the housing 11. As they pass through the openings 29 into the housing the bristles are constricted and forced together making them stiffer. This stiffening effect is further assisted by the fact that the portion of the bristles extending below the plate 28 are being shortened. Thus upward movement of the bristles stiffens the toothbrush, while downward movement of the bristles softens the toothbrush. The adjustment is simple and easy and can be readily made by a twist of the head 21. The brush can be cleaned and rinsed in the usual manner. .If any moisture gets into the housing 11 it will drain out through the opening provided by the cut out portion 32. It further cleaning is desired the plate 28 can be removed by prying it out of its grooves 33 using the cut out portion 32 for leverage.
While the plate .25 and vertical portion 26 can be made to fit easily into the housing 1.1, the housing wall may be provided with one or more ribs 34 extending horizontally as shown in FIG. 2 to maintain the portion 26 in vertical position and in contact with the gear 24. Furthermore, the slot 13 may be closed by providing the handle portion 19 in two parts as shown in FIG. 6. In this form the upper portion 35 is made similarly to the form shown in FIG. 1 except that back at the handle it does not extend downwardly as much. The slot 36 is now short. When the rod 2% is positioned into place, a bottom half 37 is cemented or molded to the handle forming a finished appearance and completely enclosing the slot 36 and the rod 21?. In this form, the plate 28 can be made integrally with the bottom handle portion 37. is not removable.
I have thus provided a simple and easy assembled construction which permits the adjustment of the stiffness of a toothbrush with a minimum of effort. The parts can readily be formed from plastic material providing an economical and easy assembled device. Other advantages of the present invention will be readily apparent to a person skilled in the art.
I. An adjustable toothbrush comprising an elongated handle portion having an integral brushing head at its forward end, said brushing head forming an inverted U- shaped housing. having an open bottom, a closure plate for said open bottom having a plurality of openings, means in said housing for supporting a plurality of tufts of bristles extending downwardly through said plate openings, said tufts of bristles flaring outwardly to a greater diameter than said plate openings, and means for vertically adjusting said supporting means, said supporting means comprising an L-shaped member having a horizontal portion supporting said bristles and a vertical portion meshing with said adjusting means, said adjusting means including a gear mounted in said housing and meshing with said supporting means.
2. An adjustable toothbrush comprising an elongated handle portion having an integral brushing head at its forward end, said brushing head forming an inverted U- shaped housing having an open bottom, a closure plate for said open bottom having a plurality of openings, means in said housing for supporting a plurality of tufts of bristles extending downwardly through said plate openings, said tufts of bristles flaring outwardly to a greater diameter than said plate openings, and means for vertically adjusting said supporting means, said supporting means In such case the plate comprising an L-shaped member having a horizontal portion supporting said bristles and a vertical portion meshing with said adjusting means, said adjusting means including a gear mounted in said housing and meshing with said supporting means,'said gear being mounted on a shaft extending rearwardly through said handle portion.
3. An adjustable toothbrush comprising an elongated handle portion having an integral brushing head at its forward end, said brushing head forming an inverted U- shapedhousing having an open bottom, a closure plate for said open bottom having a plurality of openings, means in said housing for supporting a plurality of tufts of bristles extending downwardly through said plate openings, said tufts of bristles flaring outwardly to a greater diameter than said plate openings, and means for vertically adjusting said supporting means, said supporting means comprising an L-shaped member having a horizontal portion supporting said bristles and a vertical portion engaging said adjusting means, said handle portion having a longitudinal slot, a shaft extending through said slot from the rear to said housing, :manually rotatable means at the rear of said shaft for rotating said shaft, the front end of said shaft operating said adjusting means in said housmg.
References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,189,698 Keating July 4, 1916 1,302,247 Troy Apr. 29, 1919 2,660,183 Gruring Nov. 24, 1953 FOREIGN PATENTS 26 4,25 8 Switzerland Jan. 3, 1950 463,753 France Dec. 24, 1913 554,021 Belgium Jan. 31, 1957