US 3172132 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
March 9, 1965 L. A. MUCHA 3,172,132
GERMICIDAL DEVICES FOR PERSONAL USE Filed April 27, 1964 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 March 9, 1965 A. MUCHA 3,172,132
GERMICIDAL DEVICES FOR PERSONAL USE Filed April 2?, 1964 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 INVENTOR BY CQQQ N ATTORNEY United States Patent Cfifice 3,172,l32 Fatented Mar. 9, 1965 3,172,132 GERMICIDAL DEVICES FOR PERSONAL USE Leonard A. Mucha, 3914 N. 41st St., Milwaukee, Wis. Filed Apr. 27, 1964, Ser. No. 362,913 3 Claims. (Cl. 4259) This application is a continuation-in-part of my allowed copending application Serial No. 95,890, filed March 15, 1961, and now abandoned.
The present invention relates to germicide-containing receptacles for personal use and more particularly to a pocket-sized container for holding pad means adapted absorbently to hold an antiseptic or germicidal solution onto which a person may direct exhalations in coughing or sneezing so that the infectious bacteria, virus and the like which would otherwise be broadcast into the atmosphere will instead be caught and destroyed.
A related object of the invention is to provide a receptacle of the character indicated which may be used also as a protective or prophylactic means by persons not afflicted with any contagious disorder tending to cause coughing, sneezing, expectorating or the like. For such purpose the person using the device, when in the immediate presence of persons coughing or sneezing, will from time to time apply theopened receptacle, with the germicide-bearing pad means exposed, to his mouth and nostrils and inhale through the pad means, or inhale the vapor liberated by the pad means, thus insuring the more nearly sterile condition of the air he breathes and tending to destroy bacteria and the like already taken into the respiratory passages.
For the foregoing and other similar and related purposes the device contemplated by the invention comprises a small, pocket-size container provided with a cover that is instantly openable, preferably being capable of removal by manipulation in a single hand, to expose an internal pad means that is readily replaceable and which may be impregnated with any appropriate germicidal solution, preferably one that is volatile. In certain preferred embodiments that will be chosen in this application for Letters Patent to illustrate the principles of the invention, the elements of the pad means are specially shaped for instant, ready removal and replacement, and the container is of flat shallow shape having an area not appreciably greater than that of the pad elements and having no more thickness than is required for containing the pad assembly and cover. Possibly more important also, the container is so constructed that it occupies no greater space or volume with the cover open than with the cover closed, so that the device can be removed from the pocket, purse or the like in its normal closed condition and then be opened unobtrusively by the single hand in which it is held and be no more conspicuous with the cover opened and the device thus in operative condition than with the cover closed.
Other features and advantages of the device will be apparent from the following detailed description of the preferred embodiments which have been found to give entirely satisfactory results in actual use and which have therefore been selected to illustrate the invention in the accompanying drawings, wherein FIGURE 1 is a top plan view of one form of the device, with the container or receptacle cover in closed position;
FIG. 2 is a front edge or elevational view of the device of FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional view, taken on the line 3-3 of FIG. 2;
FIG. 4 is a detail cross-sectional view, taken on the line 44 of FIG. 1;
FIG. 5 is a perspective view of one of the disposable and replaceable pad elements forming part of the inventive combination of FIGS. 1-4;
FIG. 6 is a top plan view of another form of the device, with the container cover in closed position;
FIG. 7 is a cross-sectional view, taken on the line 7-7 of FIG. 6;
FIG. 8 is a cross-sectional view, taken on the line 8-8 of FIG. 6; and
FIG. 9 is a perspective view of one of the disposable and replaceable pad elements forming part of the inventive combination of FIGS. 6-8.
In these figures, and referring first to the embodiment of the invention shown in FIGS. 1-5, the reference numeral 1 designates broadly a box-like container or receptacle body which is made in a size appropriate to be carried in the pocket or the purse and be held conveniently in the palm of ones hand. While of course size and dimensions are by no means critical, it has been found in actual practice that an overall length of four inches, a width of three inches, and a depth or thickness of threequarters inch, are desirable. Similarly, while no specific material can be regarded as essential or required, it is preferred that the container be made of one of the hard synthetic plastics that are currently in wide use in molded and die-cast articles of this general size and type. Such plastics include polyethylene, polyvinyl chloride, methyl methacrylate, phenol formaldehyde resins, and the like, and such commercial products as are sold under the brand names Lucite, Plexiglas, etc. These materials have the advantage of being non-absorbent, non-corrosive, inexpensive, durable and strong, and readily cleanable by soap and water.
The container or receptacle 1 comprises a body portion 2 and a cover 3. The body is a shallow, hollow, generally rectangular receptacle, preferably molded or die-cast in one piece, having integral bottom 4, side walls 5, back wall 6 and front wall 7. The interior surfaces of these walls are grooved, as shown at 8, to receive the four margins of a pad assembly 9, which is made up of a plurality or stack of generally rectangular pad elements 10. Each of the latter is a small sheet of any suitable absorbent material, e.g., cellular polyethylene, polystyrene or polyurethane foam, cotton textile fabric, paper pulp stock of the kind used in blotting paper, or any equivalent inexpensive absorbent material. While the sheets 10 are generally rectangular in shape to lit the recess provided by the four grooves 8, they are best made with their four corners beveled off, as shown at 11 in FIG. 5, to facilitate installation in the receptacle.
The pad assembly or stack of pad elements is consider ably thinner than the depth of the receptacle interior and is of course confined to that portion of the depth of the interior which is determined by the height and position of the grooves 8. Above and below the grooves 8 the side walls 5 of the receptacles are provided with other and smaller grooves 12, and the front and back walls are channeled, as shown at 13. The grooves 12 and channels 13 provide a track or guideway for the cover 3, which is a laterally stiff but lengthwise flexible sheet whose side margins ride in the grooves 12 and which is slidable bodily through the channels 13.
This cover 3 can best be described as being similar in structure and function to the familiar roll top of a roll top desk. In the present case it may be made of strips of stiff plastic, disposed in co-planar parallelism and joined together along their sides in any manner to permit the sheet thus formed to be slid back and forth through the channels 13, thus rounding the curves in which these channels are formed, so as to be moved from the closing position shown in the drawing to an open position in which the body of the cover is disposed within the receptacle beneath the pad assembly 9 instead of above it as shown in FIG. 3. In this position beneath the pad all assembly the cover of course is retracted and exposes the assembly. In the position above the assembly, shown in FIGS. 1, 2, 3 and 4, the cover is closed and the pad assembly is covered.
The specific structure by which the cover 3 is rendered laterally stiff and lengthwise flexible may include a side interlocking arrangement of the narrow strips of plastic that constitute the cover, or the strips may be adhesively bonded to a backing sheet of cloth or flexible plastic. In either case it is desirable that the cover be impermeable to the germicide solution that will be used to impregnate the pad assembly and to the vapors given off thereby, and it is likewise preferred that the cover make reasonably good snug contact with the receptacle in the grooves 12 and channels 13.
It will be understood that the cover is to be restricted to open position by simply pushing back on any portion of its exposed surface, as by pressure of the thumb of the hand in which the device is held. To facilitate this operation, the front wall of the receptacle may have its central portion removed to provide an opening 14 as shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, thus increasing the exposed area of the closed cover and making it possible for the cover to be pushed back to fully open position by a single movement of the thumb engaged with the portion of the lip of the cover exposed in the opening 14.
The pad assembly is soaked with any suitable germicidal solution capable of destroying the bacteria, virus and the like of coughed or sneezed exhalations. While the invention is of course not limited to any specific such germicide, I have found in practice that excellent results are obtained with an aqueous solution of hexachlorophene. Other medicaments that may be used include sephiran chloride 1:1000, 8.1. 37, and the proprietary preparations sold under the trade names Tyrolaris, Cepacol, Listerine and Lavoris.
In use, as will be understood, a pad assembly 9 is inserted in the receptacle and soaked with the germicidal solution. It then becomes a simple matter for the person possessing the device to hold it in one hand, manipulate with that hand alone the cover to open position, and direct his cough or sneeze onto the exposed pad assembly. It is possible to impinge substantially all the minute globules of the exhalation that carry infectious material onto the pad for destruction by the germicide. The pad thus remains sterile and retains its germicidal property substantially as long as it continues to bear the solution. As has been indicated, the device can be employed as a prophylactic, by the user breathing through the pad or from it from time to time so as to inhale the vapors given off by the germicidal solution. When the solution has been exhausted and the pads are quite dry, or after they have become wetted with an objectionable amount of exhaled moisture, it is a simple matter to pull any portion or all of the individual sheet elements 10 from the receptacle and replace them with a fresh supply. It is preferred that the replaced pads be discarded and destroyed. However, it is quite possible for the pads to be made of permanent or semi-permanent material capable of being washed and re-impregnated with germicide for reuse, as will be understood.
In the modification illustrated in FIGS. 6-9, the receptacle body is in general similar to the receptacle body 1 of the previously described embodiment of the invention but differs in several significant respects. Thus, the inner surface of the bottom of the box that comprises the receptacle body is formed with a series of longitudinally extending grooves 21 which extends somewhat obliquely angularly from a central upstanding cross rib 22, where the grooves 21 are relatively shallow, to the front and back walls of the receptacle, where the grooves are relatively deep, as best shown in FIG. 8. Just above this grooved bottom the inner surfaces of the four walls of the receptacle are provided with relatively wide grooves 23, the grooves 23 of the two side walls 24 being co-planar and parallel to each other, and the grooves 23 of the front wall 25 and rear wall 26 being also coplanar and parallel to each other and to the grooves 23 in the side walls.
A stack of independent, separate absorbent pads 27, all of identical substantially rectangular shape and each being impregnated like the pads 10, is disposed in the receptacle, with the margins of the pads seated in the four grooves 23 and with the bottommost of the pads seated on the grooved bottom surface of the receptacle. A central slot 28 in the pads accommodates the upstanding rib 22 and serves to center and position the pad elements and fix them in position.
While the drawing shows four of the pad elements 27 comprising the installed stack, it may be desirable in some cases to make the pad elements thicker so that only two of the elements will suffice to form a stack that will fill the grooves 23. This of course is optional and constitutes no limitation of the invention.
Above the plane of the grooves 23 the inner surfaces of the side walls 24 of the receptacle body are formed with relatively narrow grooves 29, and below the plane of the grooves 23 these surfaces are formed with similar grooves 30. Actually, as shown in FIG. 7, the grooves 30 are continuous across the bottom structure of the receptacle, underlying the central portion that contains the grooves 21 beneath the stack. The function of the grooves 29, 30 is to contain and guide the lateral margins of the laterally stiff and lengthwise flexible cover 31, which is the same as the cover 3 of the first embodiment and which is manipulated to open and closed position, sliding in its retaining grooves, in precisely the same way. As in the first embodiment, the front wall 25 of the receptacle body of FIGS. 6-8 may be formed with a notch 32 opening toward the stack so as to expose a portion of the front portion of the cover when the cover is in closed position, thereby facilitating pushing the cover to fully open position by a single movement of the thumb or a finger of the user applied to said exposed portion of the cover.
The embodiment of FIGS. 6-9 has certain advantages over the first described form of the invention. Thus, for example, in addition to those already referred to, the air currents blown onto and through the stack of pad elements at either the front or back of the receptacle tend to penetrate the stack and be directed by the grooves 21 toward the rib 22 and back up through the stack and out of the receptacle, as indicated by the arrows in FIG. 8. This double passage through the stack very thoroughly treats these currents with the germicide with which the pad elements are impregnated. Again, it is possible to saturate the pads with a very considerable quantity of the germicidal solution because the excess, if any, will drain into the grooves 21 where it will collect and be safely retained to replenish what may be lost by evaporation later from the pads.
Other advantages of this embodiment of the invention will be recognized by those skilled in the art.
The invention has been disclosed in terms of certain particular embodiments that have been found to give entirely satisfactory service in actual use. It is to be understood, however, that the present disclosure is made by way of illustration only, and that the principles of the invention are capable of being embodied in other and further modified forms, all within the scope of the appended claims.
1. A germicidal device for personal use comprising a receptacle body of generally rectangular shape in plan having parallel co-planar relatively wide grooves in each opposite pair of its inner wall surfaces, a stack of independent separate absorbent pads each being of rectangular shape and having its margins seated in said four grooves of the receptacle body and all of the pads being impregnated with a germicidal solution, and a laterally stiff and lengthwise flexible cover for the body having its lateral margins seated in relatively narrow grooves formed in two opposite inner side wall surfaces of the body respectively above and below the plane of said first-named grooves and being slidably movable in said last-named grooves between open and closed positions, said pads being sealed within the body when the cover is in closed position and the uppermost pad of the stack being exposed so as to be impinged by respiratory exhalations of the user when the cover is in open position, and the front wall of the body being provided with a notch opening toward the stack of pads and exposing a portion of the front portion of the cover when the cover is in closed position, thereby facilitating pushing the cover to fully open position by a single movement of the thumb or a finger of the user applied to said exposed portion of the cover.
2. A germicidal device as claimed in claim 1 in which the inner surface of the bottom of the receptacle body is formed with a lengthwise upstanding central rib and a series of grooves extending from the opposite end walls of the body to said rib.
3. A germicidal device as claimed in claim 1 in which the inner surface of the bottom of the receptacle body is formed with a lengthwise upstanding central rib and two opposite series of grooves, each series extending from one of two opposite end walls of the body to said rib and each groove being graduated from relatively great depth adjacent the end wall to relatively shallow depth adjacent the rib.
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