US 3158183 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Nov. 24, 1964 F. E. BROWN ETAL 3,158,183
PUSH BUTTON DROPPER' Filed July 25, 1962 INVENTORS FRANK f 8/? 0 WA/ United States Patent 3,158,183 PUSH BUTTGN DRGPPER Frank E. Brown, Glendale, Qalii, and Richard G. Sherman, Utica, Mich, assignors to Parke, Davis & Company, Detroit, Mich, a corporation of Michigan Filed July 25, 1962, Ser. No. 212,347 Claims. (U. Lil-24) This invention relates to liquid dispensing devices and more particularly to a bulb-type dropper and closure for use with a container for liquid medicines, vitamins or the like.
Liquid medicines and drugs such as vitamins, nose drops or the like are commonly packaged in small bottles and an eye dropper is usually supplied with each bottle for withdrawing liquid from the bottle and administering the same in small doses in a sanitary manner. Conventional bulb-type droppers employed for this purpose have a resilient rubber bulb on the upper end of the hollow dropper stem which is squeezed to expel air therefrom and then allowed to expand so as to aspirate liquid into the stem. Although such droppers also often have a screw cap for closing the bottle, use of the dropper as a closure is permissible only for a relatively short period of time when the liquid in the bottle contains an oil vehicle or other substance capable of attacking, damaging or otherwise injuriously affecting the rubber material of the bulb. It has therefore been necessary for drug manufacturers to package such liquids in a bottle which is sealed for shipment and storage by a conventional screw cap or stopper which cannot be damaged by such liquids, and to include the rubber bulb dropper as a separate item in the package. This adds to the ultimate cost of the product as well as being inconvenient for customers since they must unseal the bottle and insert the dropper. It also increases the risk or" spilling or contaminating the contents of the bottle.
It is an object of the present invention to provide an improved bulb-type liquid dispensing device which may be used as a seal for a liquid container for an extended period without danger of deterioration.
Another object is to provide a combination container closure and bulb-type dropper which is capable of serving as a seal for the bottle during shipment and storage thereof so that the need for a conventional screw cap or stopper is eliminated, and which is easily converted for use in the manner of a conventional bulb dropper without removing the dropper from the bottle.
' A further obje i is to provide a dual purpose closure of the above character which is economical in manufacture and reliable in use.
Other objects, features and advantages will become apparent from the following description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawing in which:
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a conventional medicine bottle with an improved bulb-type dropper of the invention secured thereto so as to serve as a seal during shipment and storage of the bottle.
FIG. 2 is a fragmentary sectional view taken on the line 22 of FIG. 1.
FIG. 3 is a fragmentary sectional View similar to that of FIG. 2 illustrating the manner of converting the dropper for use as a liquid dispenser.
FIG. 4 is a fragmentary sectional view similar to that 3,158,183 Patented Nov. 24, 1964 of FIG. 3 illustrating another technique for converting the dropper to liquid dispensing operation.
FIG. 5 is a sectional view taken on the line 55 of FIG. 2.
FIG. 6 is a plan view of a valve employed in the dropper of the invention.
The improved liquid dispensing device 10 of the present invention is shown in FIGS. 1 and 2 secured to the externally threaded mouth 12 of a conventional liquid container 14, such as a glass bottle, vial or the like, so as to seal the opening of the container against leakage or contamination during handling, shipment and storage of the container. A suitable closure, such as a plastic screw cap 16, is provided for removably securing device 10 on the container as well as for supporting a conventional rubber bulb 18 in an upright position above the cap. A neck 20 of bulb 18 extends through a central opening 22 in cap 16 and has a gasket flange 24 which is clamped by the cap against the upper end of the bottle mouth 12. Flange 24 forms with another flange 26 on neck 20 a cap mounting groove for holding the bulb and cap assembled after removal from the bottle. A hollow, liquid resistant plastic stem 28 is secured at its upper end by a force lit in neck 20, and a pair of external flanges 30 and 32 on the upper end of the stem plus an internal tapered flange 34 on the bulb 18 cooperate to retain the bulb and stem in assembled relation.
In accordance with one feature of the present invention, a liquid resistant seal comprising a pliable vinyl plastic washer 36 is secured around its inner margin between flanges 32 and 24, and the outer margin of the washer is clamped between flange 24 and the upper end of bottle mouth 12 when cap 16 is screwed onto the bottle to thereby prevent the liquid in the bottle from contacting flange 24.
Another feature is the provision of a removable bulb protector 38 comprising a sleeve, made of polyethylene or other suitable material, adapted to be slipped endwise and downwardly onto bulb 18 with a snug fit until the lower outwardly flared end 40 of sleeve 38 abuts cap 16 to thereby completely encase the bulb. Sleeve. 38 is assembled on bulb 18 at the time the container is sealed by the manufacturer, and is sufliciently rigid to prevent bulb 18 from being squeezed or collapsed until it is desired to convert device 10 from a closure to a liquid dispenser, at which time sleeve 38 is removed by slipping it upwardly oil of bulb 18.
A further feature of the invention is the provision in stem 28 of a valve 4-2 in the form of a bypass plug which is made of suitable plastic material resistant to the liquid in the container. Valve 42 is retained in a raised position as shown in FIG. 2 during shipment and storage of the container so as to provide a liquid resistant seal between the cavity 44 in bulb 18 and the hollow bore 46 of stem 28; Valve 42 is generally cylindrical in shape and includes a solid, imperforate plug portion 48 which is slidably received with an interference fit in a reduced diameter counterbore 5th at the upper end of stem 28 to thereby seal the counterbore. A bypass passage is suitably formed in the valve and comprises a pair of diametrically opposite grooves 52 (FIGS. 2, 5 and 6) which extend upwardly from a point above plug 48, parallel to the valve axis and through an annular flange 54 at the upper end of valve 42. Grooves 52 may be formed by drilling holes 56 (FIG. 6) downwardly through flange 54 or by use of suitable core pins in an injection molding process.
Valve 42 is initially assembled in stem 28 in the raised position of FIG. 2 wherein the valve extends upwardly about halfway into bulb cavity 44, the valve being retained in this position due to the interference fit of plug portion 48 in counterbore 50. This interference fit is sufficient to insure that valve 42. is not dislodged from the raised, sealing position during handling and shipment so long as bulb 18 is not squeezed. The semi-rigid sleeve 38 is therefore assembled over bulb 18 to prevent it from being squeezed, thereby insuring against unintentional dislodgement of the valve during this period. When cap 16 is screwed down on the bottle it is securely sealed against leakage and contamination and the rubber material of bulb 18 is protected against exposure to the liquid in the container due to the provision of valve 42, sleeve 38 and washer 36 assembled as described above.
When it is desired to conevrt the device from a container closure to a liquid dispenser, sleeve 38 is first removed from bulb 18 and then the bulb is squeezed as shown in FIG. 3. As the bulb is collapsed by finger pressure, the air trapped in cavity 44 is compressed, thereby developing sufiicient pressure to force valve 42 downwardly from the closed position of FIG. 2 to the open position shown in FIG. 3, valve flange S4 abutting bulb flange 34 in this position and thus preventing further downward movement of the valve. In the open position of valve 42, plug portion 48 is disposed completely within bore 46, and the lower ends of bypass grooves 52 communicate with the clearance space 58 formed between plug 48 and the wall of bore 46 so that fluid communication exists between bulb cavity 44 and bore 46. The dropper may thereafter be operated in the manner of a conventional bulb-type dropper, the liquid being drawn into and dispensed from stem 28 by successively squeezing bulb 18, allowing it to expand to its normal shape as a result of its own resilience and then squeezing it again.
When valve 42 is dislodged to the open position of FIG. 3 by the air pressure created as a result of partially squeezing bulb 18, it usually moves downwardly with a snap action, creating a popping noise and thereby audibly indicating that the dropper is ready for operation. However, should plug .3 stick in counterbore 50 after the bulb is partially squeezed, as shown in FIG. 4, then upon further squeezing of bulb 13 the inner surface thereof wraps around flange 54 in a generally conical formation to thereby develop a direct camming force sufiicient to dislodge the valve and force it downwardly to the open position. Once the valve has been moved to the open position, it will remain in this position during operation of the dropper due to the interference fit of the valve in counterbore 50. Should it be desired to reseal the dropper, a pin or wire may be inserted upwardly into bore 46 to push valve 42 back into the closed, sealing position of FIG. 2.
1. A liquid dispensing device for use with a container for liquid having an outlet comprising a closure adapted to be removably secured to the container for closing the outlet, a hollow stem adapted to proiect into the container, a flexible bulb having a walled air chamber therein adapted to be collapsed by flexing said bulb and communicating with the interior of said hollow stern, and a valve positioned for closing the communication between said hollow stem and said bulb chamber, said valve being adapted for movement to open position by flexing said bulb to collapse said chamber and means for opposing return movement of said valve to said closed position thereof such that the bulb may thereafter be operated to alternately draw liquid into said hollow stem and to expel the same therefrom in response to expansion and collapse of the bulb chamber.
2. The combination set forth in claim 1 wherein said valve has a portion adapted to fit slidably in said hollow stem with an interference fit so as to normally retain said valve in said closed position, said retaining fit being such that said valve may be dislodged to said open position by said fiexing of said bulb, said portion comprising said means for opposing return movement of said valve, and including means for preventing movement of said valve beyond said open position thereof.
3. The combination set forth in claim 1 wherein said valve includes means extending a predetermined distance into said bulb chamber when said valve is in said closed position, said means being engageable by the wall of said bulb chamber when the bulb is flexed for forcing said valve towards the open position thereof.
4. The combination set forth in claim 1 including a sleeve adapted to removably encase said bulb, said sleeve being sufficiently rigid to prevent the bulb from being flexed to an extent sufiicient to move the valve.
5. The combination set forth in claim 1 wherein said bulb is made of rubber and said valve, closure and stem are made of an oil resistant plastic material.
6. The combination set forth in claim 1 wherein said hollow stern has a reduced diameter counterbore therein adjacent said bulb, said valve having a plug portion comprising said means for opposing return movement of said valve, said plug portion being received with a predetermined interference fit in said counterbore in the closed position of said valve to thereby seal said counterbore and to yieldably retain said valve in closed position, said valve extending into said bulb chamber in the closed position thereof and having a flange disposed within said bulb chamber adapted to prevent movement of said valve away from said bulb beyond said open position, said valve having a passage therein communicating at one end with the bulb chamber in both positions of said valve, the other end of said passage being located so that it is sealed by said counterbore in the closed position of said valve and so that it is open to the interior of said hollow stem in the open position of said valve.
7. In combination,, a container having an outlet for liquid contained therein, a closure removably secured to said container for closing said outlet, a hollow stem resistant to the liquid in the container and extending in sealed relation through said closure and into the container, a flexible bulb connected to one end of said stem exteriorly of the container, a gasket resistant to the liquid in the container and mounted on said stem and adapted to form a seal between the exterior of said bulb and the liquid in the container, said stem having a counterbore therein located adjacent said one end of said stem connecting the interior of said bulb with the interior of said hollow stem, a plug resistant to the liquid in the container and adapted to fit slidably in said counterbore with a friction fit in a first position of said valve to thereby form a seal between the interior of said bulb and the liquid in the container, said plug being movable to a second position by exerting a collapsing pressure on said bulb wherein said plug is displaced into the interior of said hollow stem to an open position for establishing communication between the interiors of the bulb and stem, said fit 0 said plug opposing return movement thereof to said first position.
8. In a dropper for removably closing and for dispensing liquid from a container, said dropper having a hollow stem, a closure and a hollow bulb interfitted in assembled relation, the combination therewith of a plug mounted in said hollow stem for sealing the same, said plug being movable from a sealing position in said stem to an open position for establishing communication between the interior of said bulb and said stem by flexing of said bulb, said plug having means interfitting with said stern for opposing return movement of said plug to said sealing position thereof, to thereby convert the dropper for liquid dispensing use.
9. The combination set forth in claim 8 including a gasket resistant to the liquid in the container and mounted on said stem and adapted to protect the bulb from the liquid in the container when the dropper is secured thereon.
10. A liquid dispensing dropper comprising a hollow stern, a flexible bulb connected to one end of said stem for drawing liquid into the other end of the stem and expelling the same therefrom, said stem having a constricted portion in the hollow interior thereof, and a plug dimensioned to fit slidably in said constricted portion with an interference fit so that said plug is normally retained therein to close communication between said bulb and said other end of said stern, said retaining fit being such that said plug may be dislodged from said constricted portion of said stern by flexing said bulb to thereby open communication between said bulb and said other 15 3,037,672
end of said stem, said fit of said plug in said constricted References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS Throop Sept. 20,
1,878,026 1932 2,081,253 Serre May 25, 1937 2,083,156 McCabe June 8, 1937 2,255,833 Taylor Sept. 16, 1941 2,461,620 Wright Feb. 15, 1949 2,638,613 Gunther May 19, 1953 2,957,609 Holmes Oct. 25, 1960 Gach June 5, 1962