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Publication numberUS3124134 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateMar 10, 1964
Filing dateJun 13, 1962
Publication numberUS 3124134 A, US 3124134A, US-A-3124134, US3124134 A, US3124134A
InventorsNormse S. Gardner
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
gardner
US 3124134 A
Abstract  available in
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

March 10, 1964 N. s. GARDNER 3,124,134

MOLDED PLASTIC TAMPON APPLICATOR Filed June 13, 1962 iNVENTOR. Norman S Gardner United States Patent 3,124,134 MOLDED PLASTIC TAMPON APPLICATOR Norman 5. Gardner, 55 Circuit Road, New Rochelle, N .Y. Filed June 13, 1962, Ser. No. 202,233 8 Claims. (Cl. 128263) This invention relates to tampon applicators and, more particularly, to an improved applicator for introducing catamenial tampons into the vaginal cavity.

catamenial tampons are generally relatively elongated cylinders of compressed absorbent material, usually fibrous material, and are relatively rigid and have form stability. Consequently, they can be readily introduced into the vaginal cavity by pressure against one end. For the purpose of applying this pressure, the catamenial tampons are usually packaged assembled in an applicator as a complete unit ready for use.

The usual tampon applicators comprise telescopically slidable inner and outer tubes, with a tampon being positioned in and along the outer tube and expelled therefrom by moving the inner tube longitudinally of the outer tube in the direction of the tampon. For hygienic reasons and the like, tampon applicators hitherto usually have been made of paper or paper products so that the applicators can be discarded after a single use. There are known disadvantages to tampon applicators made of paper products, such as paper, paperboard and cardboard, among which is the ease with which such applicators may be dented or otherwise deformed thereby making ejection of a tampon therefrom difficult and unreliable. For this reason, there have been proposals to construct tampon applicators of molded plastic composition material such as, for example, polyethylene, and other plastic composition materials having essentially the same characteristics as polyethylene. However, the cost of such applicators has been unduly high in comparison with known paper and cardboard type applicators and, for this reason, such applicators are not particularly adaptable to a single use followed by discarding of the applicator. Specifically, the relatively high cost of the plastic composition applicator in turn raises the cost of the tampon and applicator unit. Due to such relatively higher cost, there is a tendency not to limit these applicators to a single use, and this is un desirable in view of the nature of the use of catamenial tampons.

In accordance with the present invention, a novel tampon applicator is provided which is initially molded as a single piece of suitable plastic composition material such as, for example, polyethylene and including, as an integral structure, the outer tube and the inner member or pusher, which preferably may be a tube but may have any other suitable cross section providing a passage for the usual tampon string or cord. For this purpose, the outer tube is formed with a relatively elongated and relatively large diameter main body section and a reduced diameter portion joined to one end of the main body portion by a transition portion, which preferably may be of a frusto-conical tubular nature. The inner member is relatively elon gated and has maximum lateral dimensions substantially equal to the inner diameter of the reduced diameter portion of the outer tube. This inner member initially extends through the main body portion of the outer tube and has its inner end integrally joined to the outer tube by a thinned plastic portion forming a weakened section severable by inward pressure on the outer end of the inner member to disconnect the inner and outer members for sliding telescopic engagement of the inner member in such reduced diameter portion. Preferably, but not necessarily, this weakened section joins the inner member to the junction of the inner end of the reduced diameter portion of the outer tube with the transition portion.

The applicators of the invention are molded in one ice piece, and this is facilitated by the relatively large clearance between the inner member and the inner surface of the main body portion of the outer tube. To make an applicator unit, inward pressure is exerted on the inner member so that the latter will be severed from the outer tube at the weakened or thinned section and may then telescopingly slide, with substantially surface-to-surface engagement, in the reduced diameter portion of the outer tube. This pressure may be exerted either before the tampon is inserted into the main body portion of the outer tube or, to facilitate assembly operations and to reduce the number or" assembly steps, the severing of the inner member from the outer tube may be effected as the tampon is pushed into the outer tube in engagement with the end of the inner member. After such severing, the inner member extends, for the major portion of its length, outwardly of the reduced diameter portion of the outer tube so that it may be pushed inwardly, when it is desired to use the applicator, to introduce the tampon, positioned in the main body portion of the outer tube, into the vaginal cavity.

Preferably, the outer end of the inner member is initially formed with suitable means which will engage with the transition portion of the outer tube to limit movement of the inner member in a direction toward and through the reduced diameter portion of the outer tube.

Due to its initial one-piece molded construction, the cost of an applicator constructed in accordance with the principles of the present invention is not only very substantially less than that of plastic composition applicators previously suggested for use with catamenial tampons but also is of the order of, or less than, the cost of the more commonly used paper, paperboard, or cardboard applicators. However, it has numerous advantages over the paper products type of tampon applicator in that it is not easily dented or deformed, and can readily be maintained in a sanitary and hygienic condition. The cost is reduced to the point where the tampon applicator may be readily discarded after a single use, without any thought of material loss. As stated, this is important from the standpoint of the nature of use of a catamenial tampon applicator.

For an understanding of the principles of the invention, reference is made to the following description of a typical embodiment thereof as illustrated in the accompanying drawings. In the drawings:

FIG. 1 is a perspective View of a tampon applicator, embodying the invention, before insertion of a tampon thereinto;

FIG. 2 is a longitudinal or axial sectional view through the applicator shown in FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a partial axial sectional view, to a greatly enlarged scale, of the tampon applicator shown in FIG. 1 and illustrating the weakened zone joining the inner tube to the outer tube;

FIG. 4 is a side elevational view, partly in section, illustrating the complete catamenial tampon unit of the invention; and

FIGS. 5 and 6 are cross sectional views illustrating alternative sectional shapes of the inner member or pusher.

Referring to FIGS. 1 through 4, the preferred embodiment of the tampon applicator 10 of the invention is illustrated as comprising an outer tube, generally designated at 20, and an inner tube, generally designated at 30. In a manner described more fully hereinafter, the outer tube 20 and the inner tube 30 are initially molded, as an inte gral one-piece construction, of a suitable plastic composition material having the desired properties for incorporation in a catamenial tampon applicator. However, before packing of a tampon into the applicator 10, the inner tube is severed from the outer tube and thereafter has a longitudinal sliding and telescoping relation therewith for use as a pusher in introducing, into the vaginal cavity, a catamenial tampon inserted into the outer tube.

Referring more particularly to FIGS. 2 and 3, the outer tube 20 has a relatively elongated and relatively large diameter main body portion 20 and a reduced diam-- eter portion 25 joined to one end of main body portion 21 by a transition portion 22. While transition portion 22 is shown as frusto-conical and tubular, it will be appreciated that this transition portion may assume another shape such as, for example, a transition portion which lies in a diametrical plane through the tampon applicator It will further be noted that the inner diameter of the main body portion 21 is very substantially in excess of the outer diameter of the inner tube 30, and relatively large radial clearance between the inner and outer tubes facilitates the molding operation and extraction of the completed unitary assembly from the. mold. For the purpose of providing a good grip, the reduced diameter portion 25 may be formed with integral circumferential ribs 26 or other integral formations enabling a user to obtain a firm grip upon this portion of the outer tube 20.

The inner tube 30 has an outer diameter which is substantially equal to the inner diameter of the reduced diameter portion 25 of the outer tube 20. Initially, the inner end of tube 30 is joined to the juncture 23 of portions 22 and 25 by a thinned or reduced thickness section or membrane 35, as best illustrated in FIG. 3. The tubes and 30 are easily severed from each other, to provide for telescoping sliding movement of the tube 30 in the reduced diameter portion 25, by inward pressure on the outer end of the tube 30, which easily breaks the thinned section 35. The inner tube 30 is thereupon pushed fully into the reduced diameter portion 25, so that it is clear of the main body portion 21 of the outer tube and has its own major portion extending outwardly of the reduced diameter portion as best seen in FIG. 4.

Such severing may be effected either before or after a catamenial tampon, of a known form and indicated at 40 (FIG. 4), is inserted into the main body portion 21 of the tube 20. However, the severing of the inner and outer tubes also may be effected by placing the tampont) against the outer end of the inner tube and then. exerting inward pressure thereupon. This will sever the inner tube from the outer tube at the reduced and thinned section 25 and at the same time will move the tampon into the main body portion 21 of the outer tube. In a known manner, the tampon 40 may be provided with a withdrawal cord or string 41 which, in the unit as sold and used, extends completely through the inner tube 30 and has a free end projecting beyond the inner tube.

Suitable means may be provided for limiting movement of tube 30 to the right, as viewed in the drawings. Thus, the tube 30 may have its outer end enlarged or flared for engagement with the transition portion 22 of tube 20, as by providing a rib or collar thereon. As one example of such limiting means, the tube 30 is illustrated as having its outer end formed with circumferentially spaced tabs 31 which extend radially outwardly at an angle from the outer end of the inner tube. However, it should be understood that tabs 31 are merely exemplary of any suitable means for limiting movement of the tube 30 through the reduced diameter portion 25 of the tube 20. It should further be noted that, for ease in application and use, the end of the outer tube 20 opposite that having the reduced diameter portion 25 is preferably rounded and smoothed off as indicated at 24.

The described applicator 10 is readily and easily molded as an initially integral construction including the tubes 20 and 30, and such molding is greatly facilitated, as is also the withdrawal of the molded article from the mold, by the relatively large radial clearance between the inner tube 34 and the outer tube 20. Furthermore, the initially unitary and integral tampon applicator It may readily and easily be conditioned for sale and use by inward pressure upon the tube 30 to sever the tubes 20 and 34) at the weakened section 35, and the assembly of the applicator with the tampon 40 may be even further facilitated by using the tampon 40 as the means for applying pressure to the outer end of the inner tube 30 and, at the same time, moving the tampon 40 into the main body portion 21 of the outer tube 20.

As mentioned, while the inner member or pusher preferably is tubular in section, it may have a section other than tubular provided the section forms an opening for passage of string or cord 41. FIGS. 5 and 6, which are sections through the applicator just outwardly of the transition zone in the outer tube, illustrate alternative vsections for the inner member or pusher.

In the tampon applicator 10 of FIG. 5, the inner member 36 has a cruciform section with the inner end edges of its legs initially joined to the junction, of transition zone 22 and reduced portion 25, by the thinned or weakened sections 35. Similarly, the tampon applicator 10" of FIG. 6 includes a Y-shaped inner member 30" having the inner end edges of its legs initially joined to the junction, of portions 22 and 25, by weakened or thinned sections 35".

In both the embodiments illustrated in FIGS. 5 and 6, there is ample molding clearance between the inner and outer members. Also, both pushers 3t) and 39" provide a passage or passages for string or cord 41.

While specific embodiments of the invention have been .shown and described in detail to illustrate the application of the principles of the invention, it will be understood that the invention may be embodied otherwise without departing from such principles.

What is claimed is:

1. An applicator for receiving a catamenial tampon for insertion into the vaginal cavity, comprising, in combination, an outer tube, of plastic composition material, having a relatively elongated and relatively large diameter main body portion and a reduced diameter portion joined to one end of the main body portion, said reduced diameter and transition portions being coaxial with said main body portion by a transition portion; a relatively elongated inner tube, of plastic composition material, within and coaxial with said outer tube and having an outer diameter substantially equal to the inner diameter of said reduced diameter portion; said inner tube initially extending through said main body portion with its outer end projecting outwardly of the latter, and having its inner end integrally joined to said outer tube by thinned membrane means forming a weakened section severable by inward pressure on the outer end of said inner tube to disconnect said tubes for sliding telescoping engagement of said inner tube in said reduced diameter portion of said outer tube.

2. An applicator, as claimed in claim 1, in which said transition portion is substantially frusto-conical.

3. An applicator, as claimed in claim 1, including means integral with the outer end of said inner tube and engageable with said transition portion to limit movement of said inner tube through said reduced diameter portion, said last-named means comprising radially outwardly extending formations on the outer end of said inner tube and integral with said inner tube.

4. An applicator, as claimed in claim 1, including integral grip formations on the otherwise smooth outer surface of said reduced diameter portion of said outer tube. 5. An applicator, as claimed in claim 1, in which there IS a relatively large radial clearance between the inner surface of the main body portion of said outer tube and the outer surface of said inner tube to facilitate molding of the applicator as a unit and extraction from the mold.

6. An applicator for receiving a catamenial tampon for insertion into the vaginal cavity, comprising, in combination, an outer tube of plastic composition material, having a relatively elongated and relatively large diameter body portion and a reduced diameter portion joined to one end of a main body portion, said reduced diameter and transition portion being coaxial with said main body portion by a transition portion; a relatively elongated inner member, of plastic composition material, within and coaxial with said outer tube and having a maximum lateral dimension substantially equal to the inner diameter of said reduced diameter portion; said inner member initially extending through said main body portion with its outer end projecting outwardly of the latter, and having its inner end integrally joined to the junction, of said transition portion and said reduced diameter portion, by at least one thinned membrane forming a weakened section severable by inward pressure on the outer end of said inner member to disconnect said outer tube and said inner member for sliding telescoping engagement of said inner member in said reduced diameter portion of said outer tube.

7. An applicator, as claimed in claim 6, in which said inner member has a cruciform cross section with the inner end edge of each of its legs initially integrally joined to said junction by a thinned membrane.

8. An applicator, as claimed in claim 6, in which said inner member has a Y-shaped cross section with the inner end edge of each or" its legs initially integrally joined to said junction by a thinned membrane.

References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,619,087 Oclassen et al Nov. 25, 1952 3,034,508 Nalle May 15, 196-2 FOREIGN PATENTS 549,053 Great Britain Nov. 4, 1942

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US2619087 *May 9, 1951Nov 25, 1952Foster Milburn CompanyCombined package and applicator
US3034508 *Oct 19, 1960May 15, 1962Nalle Jr George SMolded tampon applicators
GB549053A * Title not available
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3409011 *Dec 27, 1965Nov 5, 1968Hahn Carl Dr KgSanitary tampon applicator
US3456640 *Mar 27, 1967Jul 22, 1969Kimberly Clark CoMeans and method for inserting absorbent cartridges into the vagina
US3807399 *Aug 30, 1972Apr 30, 1974Kimberly Clark CoTampon applicator
US3895634 *Oct 18, 1973Jul 22, 1975Rapid American CorpTampon inserter
US4536178 *Nov 10, 1983Aug 20, 1985International Playtex, Inc.Tampon applicator
US4822332 *Mar 31, 1988Apr 18, 1989Tambrands Inc.Device for delivering an object to a cavity
US5213566 *Jun 5, 1992May 25, 1993Ortho Pharmaceutical CorporationPrefilled suppository applicator
US5330421 *Dec 4, 1992Jul 19, 1994Tambrands Inc.Tampon applicator
US5330427 *Mar 5, 1993Jul 19, 1994Ortho Pharmaceutical CorporationPrefilled suppository applicator
US5437628 *Nov 10, 1993Aug 1, 1995Kimberly-Clark CorporationCurved tampon applicator having an improved fingergrip
US5453085 *Oct 14, 1993Sep 26, 1995Mcneil-Ppc, Inc.Tampon applicator
US5497542 *Feb 28, 1995Mar 12, 1996Kimberly-Clark CorporationMethod of assembling an inner tube into an outer tube
US5519930 *May 12, 1995May 28, 1996Kimberly-Clark CorporationApparatus and method of assembling an inner tube into an outer tube
US5533966 *Jun 7, 1994Jul 9, 1996Mcneil-Ppc, Inc.Tampon applicator, especially for feminine hygiene
US5643196 *Mar 3, 1995Jul 1, 1997Tambrands Inc.Tampon applicator
US5958321 *Sep 16, 1997Sep 28, 1999Schoelling; Hans-WernerProcess and apparatus for producing a tampon applicator for feminine hygiene
US6890324Jun 28, 2001May 10, 2005Playtex Products, Inc.Tampon applicator
US20050038372 *Aug 12, 2003Feb 17, 2005The Procter & Gamble CompanyApplicator with a locking mechanism comprising a plurality of slits
US20050038373 *Aug 12, 2003Feb 17, 2005The Procter & Gamble CompanyProcess for making an applicator with a locking mechanism comprising a plurality of slits
US20050070839 *Nov 18, 2004Mar 31, 2005Playtex Products, Inc.Tampon applicator
US20080110775 *Nov 13, 2006May 15, 2008Theodora BeckAbsorbent articles with replaceable core components having stiffness characteristics and method for evaluating such characteristics
USD492033Apr 4, 2003Jun 22, 2004Playtex Products, Inc.Tampon applicator assembly
WO2005018519A1 *Aug 12, 2004Mar 3, 2005The Procter & Gamble CompanyApplicator with a locking mechanism comprising a plurality of slits
WO2005018520A1 *Aug 12, 2004Mar 3, 2005The Procter & Gamble CompanyA process for making an applicator with a locking mechanism comprising a plurality of slits
Classifications
U.S. Classification604/15
International ClassificationA61F13/20, A61F13/26
Cooperative ClassificationA61F13/26
European ClassificationA61F13/26