US 3169672 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Feb. 16, 1965 J. w. sol-FER ETAL 3,169,672
LOCKING ACTUATOR CAP FOR VALVED DISPENSER Original Filed Feb. 23, 1960 RICHARD C. HU BY ATTORNEY United States Patent O 3,169,672 LOCKING ACTUATOR CAP FOR VALVED DISPENSER Y Jack W. Solfer, Beverly Hills, Calif., and James L. Rhodes, Clayton, and Richard C. Hug, Alton, Mo., assignors to The Clayton ,Corporation of Delaware, a corporation of Delaware l Continuation of application Ser. No. 10,310, Feb. 23,
1960. This application Jan. 23, 1963, Ser. No. 254,042 13 Claims. (Cl. 222-153) The present invention relates to actuators and caps for valved aerosol dispensers. This application is a con'unuation of application Serial No. 10,310 filed February 23,
V1960, now abandoned.
The principal purposes of this invention are: To provide a combined actuator-cap, including a protective locking feature, thus to avoid inadvertent dispensing of the container contents, -both during initial shipment and on later use by the ultimate customer.
To provide such an actuator cap, so designed for manufacture in two separate pieces, so that at least the piece which holds onto the container rim may be molded out of one of the more rigid plastics. This construction holds more securely to the container rim, and also permits a greater choice of plastic materials to permit, in some cases, more attractive color and better iinish than are obtainable with the softer plastics such as flexible polyethylene.
Other purposes will be apparent from the detailed discussion which follows.
Attempts have been made heretofore to utilize plastic parts as a protection against inadvertent discharge of the actuating nozzle which tits on the dispenser valve. These must ordinarily be removable for dispensing; but are attached at the iilling plant so that the contents of the container will not be discharged during shipment, nor by inadvertent handling prior to sale.
According to the present invention, the two pieces provided both remain attached during use. These pieces, which serve all of the desired functions, are a radiallyextending discharge spout, engageable to the discharge valve of the aerosol andhaving press-down finger-actuated means; and cap means (which may be molded of a hard plastic such as'polystyrene) having a first aperture through which the nozzle projects and on'which it rests in the' manner of a fulcrum, and a second aperture through which the finger actuated means projects and is depressed. The two parts are further inter-related by latch means, selectively engageable between them to hold the finger-actuated means upward, so that it cannot be inadvertently depressed.
Difticulties in molding would present themselves if the `functions here disclosed were attempted in a one-piece cap construction. The embodiment preferred is the twopiece actuator cap shown in the drawing; in which:
FIGURE 1 is a View, principally in vertical section, of a two-pieceV actuator cap embodying the present invention, applied vto a disposable metal dispensing container including a depressible valve. The latch of the actuator cap is shown in engaged position,V with the disengaged position shown in dashed lines.
FIGURE 2 is an exploded perspective View, partly from the front and above, showing the construction of the two parts of the presentactuator cap.
FIGURE 3 is similar to FIGURE l with the actuator I shown as being depressed by a users'thumb. p
Referring now to the drawings by reference figures and letters, there is shown a metal dispenser can a having a crimped-in rimmed metal mounting cup b bearing a resilient grommet-like seal c which mounts and serves as the resilient erecting andv closing member for a hollow-stem- 3,169,672 Patented Fel). 16, 1965 med valve d; whose lower button end e closes olf the discharge of the aerosol contents when the sleeve f of the seal c el-astically urges thev tapered valve stem tip g upward, closing the button end e against the seal c. The seal c includes a depending annular skirt h which elastically holds and seals within it the large-diameter end of a nipple fitting i. Onto the small-diameter inlet of the nipple fitting i is mounted a dip tube j. These parts have been known heretofore.
One of the two actuator cap members -is the stationary cap member generally designated 11, which may be Y molded of any one of the more attractive plastics available, and advantageously of one of the harder plastics such as polystyrene which yields a iine finish. The stationary cap member 11 has a collar-like base portion 12 which snaps onto the rimmed mounting cup b until an internal shoulder 13 rests above its rim and an inwardly-extending ridge or undercut 14 grasps beneatth the rim, as shown in FIGURES l and 3. This t serves to attach the cap 11 securely, and establishes a wall radially outward of the valve d. Such wall is the cap sidewall 15, which arises from the base 12 immediately above the internal shoulder 13, and is here shown to be generally of hollow cylindrical form. It terminates `in a top wall 16 which has a large access opening 17 extending from the rear forward to a point slightly forward of the valve stem tip g, as hereinafter described.
p The side wall 15 has two openings.V One of these is continuous with rear ends of the top wall opening 17; it is -referred to as the rearr rectangular gap 18 in the side wall. Along the lower edge of the rear gap 18, immediately above the annular shoulder 13 is molded a latch seat portion generally designated 19.
DiametricallyV opposite therear gap 18 and just beneath the top wall 16 is a wall aperture 20 which supports the dispensing spout upon a portion of its edge. The aperture 20 is generally T-shaped, as will be apparent from the `exploded view FIGURE 2 taken through its middle. To use a different descriptive ligure, it has the appearance of a squared-off key hole, with lower rectangular portion 21 merging into the loweredge of -a broader upper rectangular portion 22 symmetrically; thus leaving a pair of abutments 23, one on each side of-center, which support the spout hereinafter described. The lower rectangular portion 21V is in eiiect a central notch which-interrupts the fulcruming abutments 23.
The other of the members shown in FIGURE 2 is referred to generally asv the tubular spout 26, at its forward (outer) end a nozzle tip 27 extends or droops downward. The lower rectangular portion 21 permits assembly lby allowing the downward-extending portion of the nozzle tip 27 to pass between the abutments 23. Aft of the downwardly-drooped tip 27, the spout V26 is generally horizontal, having the cross section of the squared-off tube, which leads back to the centrally downward `presented'hub 28 which serves as the opening through which the material to bedispersed passes into the spout. VYThe hub 28 is taperedat its entrant portion 29 for fit lonto the valve stem tip g, and may include an internal shoulder Ystop 30 to limit the amount which the valve stem tip g may enter into the hub. It is important for secure latch, ing that when a valve d closes upwards, the upper surface of the tubular -spout 26 will iit close to `or against the underside or" the-container top wall 16, as shown in FIG- URE 1.
v Where the tubularspout 26 passes through the nozzle aperture 20 in the side wall 15, it is equipped with-a pair of sideward-extending shoulders 31 which reinforce it `and permit it to rest fulcrumed on the abutments 23. A grooved inter-fit is provided for sure fulcruming action. Thus the lower surfaces of the shoulders 31 have upwardly extending grooves or notches 32 which slip onto and grasp over the fulcruming abutments 23. If, as preferred, the tubular spout 26 is made of -a somewhat flexible plastic material, the shoulders 31 may be pressed inward slightly to eect easy assembly within the side wall aperture 20.
Overlying the upper end of the hub 28 and extending aft and upward through the access opening 17, is an integral molded thumb pad 35. Its upward projections above the level of the top wall 16 suggests that it is to be pressed downward. It has a rigid central upper surface 36 to aid in this. The thumb pad 35 is generally rectangular, with rounded edges, and it extends rearwardly slightly beyond the cylindrical side wall 15, thus to provide a rear overhang 37 for releasing the latch to be described. In the embodiment shown, the side wall of the cap member 11 is extended rearwardly on both sides of the rear overhang 37, to provide vertical latch-protecting abutments 38.
Molded as part of the tubular spout 26 (which includes the thumb pad 35 just described is a downward- L ly-forrned latch portion 41. Preferably it is so molded that when free from bending loads, it will assume the position shown in dashed lines.
' The latch 41 consists of a vertical leg 42which, when latched, is in vertical registration with a latching groove 47 therebclow and whose width substantially fills the rear gap 18. The leg 42 has a latching foot 43 with a heel ridge 44 presented downward and aft, and downward-and-aft-extending-toe-like part 45.V This portion 45 may be grasped by the user and pulled outward Vor pressed upward and inward, whereby the leg 42 is bendable out of or into registration with lthe latching groove 47 to disengage or engage the latching foot 43.
The latch seat 19 includes a vertical abutment 46, against which the inner side of .the heel ridge 44 bears when closed; and at its base the grove 47 in which said ridgets when closed. The height of theV leg 42 is such that, when latched as shown in FIGURE l, the thumb pad must be bent slightly upward, against the'restraint furnished by the top wall 16 bearing against the upper surface of the spout 26. Thus the resiliency and elasticity of the plastic material of the tubular spout 26 (and,`
in part, the elasticity of the cap member 11 whose top wall 16 restrains the tubular spout 26 from moving upward) holds the thumb pad 35 securely latched upward.
The bending resistance of the thumb pad 35 is augmented by fore and aft ribs 48 beneath its surface, which bridge beneath the upper portion of the hub 28 and the upper portion of the latching leg 42. The ribs 48 are shown to be of lesser depth at their mid-span or slightly nearer to the hub 28. Any desired amount of bending resistance, necessary to hold the heel ridge 44 tightly in the groove 47 of the latch means, may be obtained by altering the depth or thickness of these ribs 48.
When the downward-projecting toe-like part is pried outward by the users fingertip into position shown in dashed lines of FIGURE 1, it will lower slightly because the downward force on the latch 41 will have beeny relieved. The rear overhang 37, as shown in FIGURE 1, will then assume the lower position shown, with the surface of the thumb pad 35 substantially horizontal.
In operation, as shown in FIGURE 3,*the user presses downward on thumb pad 35.
Assuming that the latching leg 42 has been molded to assume the'dotted-line position of FIGURE 1, extending angularly aft, on being disengaged Vfrom the latch, it will extend aft to clear the latch seat 19. However, if molded to 90 angularity, it may readily be deflected aft, and will not interfere with easy operation, for the force required to keep it deflected outward to the FIGURE 3 position is minute.
As the thumb pad 35 is pushed downward to open the valve as shown in FIGURE 3, the grooved inter-fit of the spout shoulders 31 on the fulcruming abutments 23, causes the spout 26 to rock slightly, as shown in FIGURE 3, drawing its upper surface downwardly below the inner surface of the top wall 17 of the cap 11. The spring-like action of the grommet sleeve f, in raising the valve stem tip g, restores the parts to the position shown in FIGURE 1, with the leg 42 extending aft as shown in dashed lines.
When initially assembled, the latching leg 42 is straight downward and the latch engaged as shown in the solid lines of FIGURE l. When the user desires to re-engage the latch (as, for example, for traveling) the user may readily press upward on the rear overhang 37 and inward on the toe-like part 45, then release the rear overhang 37. Thisl will result in secure latching in position shown in the solid lines of FIGURE 1. If, however, the part be so molded that the latching leg 42 normally assumes a straight-down position, such re-latching will follow automatically on lifting up the rear overhang 37. The latching leg 42 will snap forward until the heel ridge 44 engages the vertical abutment 46.
Many possible variations and modifications will occur to those familiar with the problems of dispensing aerosols and with available molding techniques and materials. Accordingly the present invention should not be construed narrowly, but instead as fully coextensive of the scope of the claims.
What is claimed and is desired to be protected by Letters Patent is:V
l. A two-piece actuator cap for valved aerosol dispensers, comprising a stationary cap member having a base portion including means to attach the cap member to such dispenser outwardly of its valve, and having a a side wall extending upward from the base portion, a side wall aperture having an edge including a spout-supporting fulcrum portion, the stationary member further having a top wall including an opening -aft of the side wall aperture, the actuator cap further comprising a tubular spout extending through the side wall aperture and ulcrumed upon the spout-supporting portion of its edge, the tubularrspout having an inner end opening including a downwardly-presented hub whereby to t upon and communicate with the valve of the dispenser, and an upwardly-presented thumb pad portion adjacent to the hub and accessible through the top wall opening of the cap member, the upper surface of the spout being presented against the inner surface of the top wall save where the thumb pad portion is depressed, and latch means between the thumb pad portion `and the portion of the side wall diametrically opposite the side wall aperture, the thumb pad portion being characterized by bending resiliency, whereby an upward force, applied at its rear end and transmitted across said thumb pad and resisted by said top wall, will flex the rear end of the thumb pad upwardly suiciently to permit selective engagement and disengagement of the latch means.
2. An actuator cap for aerosol dispensers of the type having a downward-opening valve, comprising a circular base portion including means to attach to such a dispenser outwardly of its valve, a side wall extending upward from the base portion and including a rear gap and a forward spout-supporting portion, the actuator cap further comprising a tubular spout fulcrumed upon the spout-supporting portion, the tubular spout having an inner end opening including a downwardly-presented hub Vwhereby to lit upon and communicate with the valve of the dispenser, the tubular spout further having VYan upwardly-presented thumb pad portion extending aft from lthe hub, and latch means between the side wall gap yand the thumb pad portion, engageable to prevent depressing the thumb pad portion and disengageable to permit depressing same, said latch means including a bendable tab extending downward from the thumb pad into the rear gap of the side wall and terminating downwardly in a latching projection, and a latch seat, for
' said projection within the said'rear gap.
whereby a downward force, transmitted across said thumb pad to the latch means, will'avoid inadvertent disengagement thereof.
4. A two-.piece actuator-cap for valved aerosol dispensers, comprising a stationary cap member having a base portion including means to attach the cap to such dispenser outwardly of its valve, a side wall extending upward from the base portion, 'a side wall aperture having an edge including an upwardly-presented, spout-supporting fulcrum portion, a `gap in the upper portion of said side wall located diametricaly opposite the said aperture, said gap having a latching seat, the side wall further having a top wall portion including an opening aft of the side wall aperture, the actuator-cap further comprising a tubular spout extending through the side wall aperture and fulcrumed upon the spout-supporting portion of its edge, the tubular spout having an inner end opening including a downwardly-presented hub, whereby to tit upon and communica-te with the valve of the dispenser, an upwardly-presented thumb pad portion adjacent to the hub and accessible through the top wall opening of the cap member, and a latching tab extending downwardly into the gap of the side wall for selective engagement to and disengagement from its latching seat.
5. A two-piece actuator-cap as dened in claim 4, the tubular spout having a pair of sideward-extending shoulders, the spout-supporting portion of the side Wall aperture having a pair of abutments beneath said shoulders, the shoulders and `abutments having a grooved nterit to provide the fulcruming of the spout.
6. A two-piece actuator-cap as deflned in claim 4, the spout having a nozzle tip extending downward, the side wall aperture edge having a central notch interrupting the fulcrum portion whereby to permit the nozzle tip to be inserted therethrough.
7. A two-piece actuator cap as dened in claim 4, the top wall portion of the cap overlying the spout portion between its hub and the side wall aperture whereby to resist upward removal of the hub from such dispenser valve.
8. An actuator-cap for aerosol dispensers of the type having a downwardopening valve, comprising a radiallyextending discharge spout having downwardly operable finger-actuated means and a nozzle outlet, cap means having -a first aperture through which the nozzle outlet i projects and a second aperture through which the iingeractuated means projects, and latch means including a latching tab extending downward from the Iinger actuated means and a tab-engaging portion on that part of the cap means diametrically opposite said iirst aperture.
9. Two-piece locking actuator construction for aerosol dispensers of the type having a downward opening valve, comprising a radially extending discharge spout member having a hub-like inlet whereby to engage such valve,
downward operable linger actuated means,
a nozzle outlet,
and an integral latch portion 1780I removed from the nozzle outlet,
in combination with an upwardly extending circumferential wall member having integral means for mounting onto such dispenser,
fulcrum means supporting the spout member to permit relative tilting movement between said spout member and the wall member,
and an integral latch portion beneath the latch portion of the spout member,`
said latch portions of the spout member and wall member being resiliently deflectable relative to each other for locking engagement and unlocking disengagement;
10. A nozzle-actuator for a downward opening valve of a dispenser, comprising a radialy extending discharge spout portion having a hub-like inlet whereby to engage such valve, a nozzle outlet forward of the inlet,
`together with a circumferential wall portion having integral means to engage onto such dispenser, a forward part of said wall portion including means to mount the spout,
and an aft second latch means, the said first and second latch means of the spout and the wall being resiliently bendable upwardly and out of registration relative to each other for locking engagement and unlocking disengagement.
l l. A nozzle-actuator for a downward opening valve of a dispenser can, comprising a circular base portion engageable with the upper end portion of such a dispenser,
a tubular discharge spout having a radially inner end engageable in communication with the valve and outer forward end forming a dispensing opening,
an intermediate portion of said discharge spout being mounted by a forward portion of said circular base portion,
a finger 'actuated element extending rearwardly from the inner end of the discharge spout,
interengaging registering latch means on said iinger actuated element and on a rear portion of said circular base portion,
retaining said iin-ger actuating element in a raised and operative position when interengaged and being bendable out of registration to a disengaged position,
whereby to permit downward movement of said finger actuated element.
12. A locking actuator for an aerosol dispenser having a valve at the upper end openable by downward finger movement, said actuator comprising a circular vpor-tion engageable with the upper end of the 'aerosol dispenser,
a tubular spout mounted intermediate its ends by said circular pontion,
the inner end of said tubular spout being engageable with the valve of the aerosol dispenser,
the outer end of the tubular spout forming a dispensing opening,
a finger actuated portion extending from the inner end of the spout,
interengaging registering latch means on said finger actuated lportion and said circular portion, said interengaging latch means comprising an integral bendable element on one of said portions and a shoulder on the other of said portions,
said linger actuated portion being locked in latched inoperative position when said bendable element is engaged with said shoulder `and said inger actuated portion being depressible to open the valve of the aerosol dispenser when the bendable element is bent out of registration to disengage the shoulder.
13. An actuator for an aerosol dispenser having a valve at the upper end, said valve being operable by downward movement, said actuator comprising a circular cap portion engageable with the upper end of the dispenser,
a dispensing spout having a down-turned inner end portion for engagement with the valve of the aerosol dispenser,
the dispensing spout being mounted intermediate its ends by the circular cap portion,
the forward end of the dispensing spout extending outwardly beyond the periphery of the circular cap portion,
a linger actuated element extending rearwardly from 'the inner end of the dispensing spout,
the rearward end of said finger actuated element being 7 disposed over but spaced from a rear part of said circular cap portion, and interengagng registering latch means on said actuated element and on the rear part lof saidV circular cap portion,
said interengaging means being resiliently bendable i out of registering engagement to permit downward movement of said actuated element.
References Cited in the -le of this patent UNITED STATES'PATENTS Abplanalp May 11, '1954 Ludwig Nov. 9, 1954 Miles et al Mar. 21, 1961 Leonard et al May 2, 1961