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Publication numberUS3178754 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateApr 20, 1965
Filing dateMay 15, 1963
Priority dateMay 15, 1963
Publication numberUS 3178754 A, US 3178754A, US-A-3178754, US3178754 A, US3178754A
InventorsCleverdon Alton A
Original AssigneeCleverdon Alton A
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Electric toothbrush
US 3178754 A
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

April 20, 1965 A. A. cLEvERDoN ELECTRIC TOOTHBRUSH Filed May l5, 1963 4free/V675 United States Patent() 3,178,754 ELECTRC TOUTHBRUSH Alton A. Cleverdon, 314 Eastchester Road, New Rochelle, NIY. Filed May 1S, 1963, Ser. No. 280,634 6 Claims. (Cl. 15--344) The present invention relates to an electric toothbrush, and in particular to one in which means are provided not only for imparting desired vibration to the brush element but also for providing a flow of fluid through the brush element to the mouth area being brushed.

The desirability of causing the brush element of a toothbrush to move rapidly, usually in a vibratory manner, relative to the handle of the assembly has long been recognized. Devices have been constructed in which this movement of the brush element relative to the handle is produced by a small electric motor located Within the handle. In some instances the motor is energized by connecting it to an external source of power by means of a wire extending from the handle; in other instances the motor is battery-powered and the battery is housed Within the handle. These devices are effective for the cleaning of teeth, but the agitation produced at the teeth surfaces being brushed is derived solely from the physical movement of the brush element itself, and is limited to those mouth areas where the brush bristles can themselves physically penetrate.

It has been proposed in the past to utilize a iluiddlow means which directs fluid under pressure to the mouth or teeth areas being brushed, the flowing fluid, in conjunction with the brush or other cleaning device, performing two functions: increasing the agitation, and hence the cleaning effect, where the brush actually contacts the mouth and tooth surfaces, and reaching areas where the brush bristles cannot penetrate, thus making for more extensive cleaning action as well as providing a therapeutic massage effect. These fluid flow embodiments have been extremely cumbersome and complicated, and hence have not been adaptable for use in the home for various reasons, such as excessive cost, need for auxiliary equipment such as pumps and associated piping, cumbersomeness, and difficulty of manipulation.

lt is the prime object of the present invention to produce an electric powered toothbrush eminently suitable for home use from all points of view-size, cost, lightness of Weight, and ease and conventionality of manipulationwhich is nevertheless capable of providing not only the desired physical movement of the brush element relative to the handle, but in addition thereto and in cooperation therewith to provide a flow of fluid such as air directly to the areas being brushed, thereby to enhance the effectiveness of the brushing operation.

More specifically, in accordance with the present invention a brush element is articulately mounted on a handle and is adapted to be moved relative to the handle by means of a motor which is preferably housed within the handle. The brush element, and preferably the bristle prtion thereof, is provided with a fluid passage which is connected to a fluid pump, that pump also being mounted on and preferably housed within the toothbrush handle. The same motor which causes the brush element to move also drives the pump, thereby coordinating brushing movement with the supply of fluid and augmenting and enhancing the etliciency of the overall cleansing action. In the preferred form here disclosed the pump is so coordinated, physically and operationally, with the remainder of the structure as to take up little if any additional space and as to add little if any additional weight to the assembly.

To this end, in the form here specifically disclosed, the pump is of the cylidner and piston type. The driving 3,178,754 Patented Apr. 2,0, 1965 ice connection to the bristle portion of the brush element, which causes the latter to move relative to the handle, includes a part passing through the cylinder, and the piston is mounted directly on that part. The fluid passage which connects the pump cylinder with the bristle portion of the assembly includes a portion formed in the aforementioned part. Hence movement of that part, which is attendant upon driving the bristle portion, itself actuates the pump and causes fluid to be forced under pressure to the bristle portion, where the fluid escapes so as to augment the cleaning operation.

Preferably the fluid passage between the pump and the bristle portion includes an enlarged chamber Where fluid under pressure can accumulate, thereby producing a substantially smooth and uniform flow of fluid from the assembly despite the pulsating action of the pump. The egress openings for the fluid are made sufficiently small, in comparison with the flow characteristics of the fluid and the capacity of the pump, to produce a steady and effective flow of fluid despite the fact that the pump is of such small dimensions as to be capable of being housed Within the handle.

The bristle portion of the brush is rendered removable from the remainder of the assembly for ready replacement and repair in case of wear or damage. The arm which holds the bristle portion may be separable from the handlepump sub-assembly for similar reasons, and to facilitate manufacture.

As a result, a simple, inexpensive, small and light assembly is produced, well adapted in all respects for home use by adults and children alike, which not only provides an effective more or less conventional physical brushing action but which also provides a fluid flow directly at the area being brushed.

To the accomplishment of the above, and to such other objects as may hereinafter appear, the present invention relates to the construction of an electric toothbrush, as defined in the appended claims and as described in this specification, taken together with the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. l is a bottom plan view of one embodiment of the present invention;

FlG. 2 is a partially cross sectioned view thereof taken along the line 2 2 of FlG. l; and

FIGS. 3 and 4 are enlarged cross sectional views taken respectively along the lines 3 3 and 4-4 of FIG. 1.

The embodiment of the invention here specifically disclosed comprises a handle assembly generally designated A and a brush assembly generally designated B, the latter consisting of a mounting portion generally designated C and a bristle portion generally designated D.

The handle assembly A comprises -a cylindrical casing 2 open at the end 4 and at its opposite end having an end wall 6 with a central opening 8 therein defined in part by an outwardly projecting flange lil. Mounted within the casing 2 in any appropriate manner is an electric motor l2. Electrical conecti-on thereto may be made as desired. As here specifically disclosed, the left hand portion of the casing 2 is adapted to receive a battery 14, held in place by cap 16 threadedly received on the end portion 1S of the casing 2, the battery 14 then making electrical connection with the motor 12 in a manner analogous to that used in a conventional flashlight. lt will be understood that this is by way of exemplification only. Q ther types of battery connections could be employed, or the motor l2 might be connected by an extending wire to an external source of power. A switch button 20 may be provided on the exterior of the casing 2, movable between circuit opening and closing positions, thereby providing for manual control of energization of the motor l2. The motor output shaft 22 carries gear 24 which iv. 'V 3 meshesfwith 4a gear train,generallydesignated 26, that," train driving crank disk 28.v .Link 3l) is pivotally con-V nected to the crank disk 28 at 32, the link being pivotally connected` at 34 to ro,d,36 wllich-extendsfout snugly` y 'through `the openingflt). A pistondis'kS is mounted on that portion of the rod 36 which isl-ocated insidethe. casing 2, the piston disk 38V making closephysicalsliding connection withthe inner surface portion lllof the 'casing 2, thatportionof the Ycasing 2, togetherwith theY end wall 6 thereof, delining the cylinder Vof a pump, with which said cylinder the piston disk 38 cooperates in con- As the piston disk 33 then compressedl air flowing tllrou'ghithe passage 36, past the valve d'7-, and-through passage' 66 and the restricted open- V,ing ,80 nintothe `chamber ,'78, and from that chamber N through the airfpassages 74 to the tips of the bristles 72, Y whereV it escapes. Sincegthefdiameters of the passages .74

arequite small, thns'frestricting the speed of uid flow L n therethrough; Aand ysince the capacity of fthe pump defined ventional reciprocating pump fashion. As the crank disk i 28 rotates the rod 36 is` reciprocated and the pistonV disk by thepiston disk 3S and the cylinder 4t), 6V will introduce airV into `the chamber 78. faster than it can escape through ment vof the piston disk 3S being indicatedby thea'rrowY f '42 in FIG. 2;'. `The casing 2 is provided withan air in-Y let opening 44 which, as may best beseen from` FIG. 2, is located tothe right of the leftY hand extreme position rnunicatcs with Vt'ne exterior of the rod 36 at a point'- to the right of the piston disk 38.. I Y l. Y

The mounting portion C of thebrush assembly B com'- prises `a rod-'likepart 50 andV an'enlargedV head part 527.1

38 is moved therewith between an extreme right handig..` the ,passagesv 74, pressure will build up or accumulate position shown in solid lines-in FIG.`2 and an Vextreme leftV hand position shown in broken linesA in FIG. 2, the movewithin'the `chamber 7S, thus producing a comparatively uniform-rate of flow of air outtrom the tips of the brisdesA 72, despitel theV pulsatingaction of the air pump.

e By reason of'the disclosed construction it will be appreciated that lthe supply of fluid is coordinated in an automatic and Vfoolproof fashion with the brushing movement Vof the-bristlesl 72, and-.thatth'e structure which provides for that'liuid flow is so closely integrated with the other structure of the toothbrush as to assist that other structure in producing brushing movement of the bristles The left hand end of the rod-likepart 50 Y(see FlGQS) Vis f externally threaded, at 54, and its end surface'is recessed 'i at 56, a sealing ring 58 being received in that recess.VV The right hand end of the ,rod 36 is extern-ally threaded at 60 and its end surface is providedV with'a projecting portion 62 adapted to be received inthe recess 56. A coupling'. l

nut 64 is'threadedly engageable with theY threaded porably connectable to the right Ahand end of the rod 36. The

.tions 54 and 6l), the rod-like part 50 thusbeing'detach-i e `rod-like part 5t) of the brush assembly B is providedfwith a central fluid passage 66 which, when'the parts 36 and 50 are assembledto one another, registers with the passage 46. Agone-way valve67, permitting uid flow only from f left to right -as viewed in the drawings, may be located between the passages 46 and 66, held in place between the parts 36 and 50. i Y

The enlarged headk partrv52 Vis Yprovided on its undersurface witha recessed area 678 into which the bristle por'- tion D is'adapted toV be received, that bristle portion-D comprising a base 70 snugly receivable in the yrecessed area 68 andwith a plurality of bristles V72 extending downwardly fromthe base 70, with small diameter fluid pas'- sages 74 passing through the bristles 7.2 and communieating ybetween the top of the base 7 tl' and the'lower ends of the bristles 72 (see FIG. 4).' The diameter of theseA passages 74 may be on the order of afew thousandths ,A

of an inch. A set'screw 76 passes through the end of the enlarged head part V52V in order'to detachablyhold theV bristle portion Din place VThe interior` of the enlarged head part 52 is provided with a relatively large chamber 7S with which the uid passages 74 andthe passageyt ,'72, while at the same timelperforming its own special rthe'weight or cost of the'nish'ed product.V

While'but a single embodiment or the present invention has been herespecifically disclosed, it will be 4apparent that many variations may be made therein, 'all within the Vscope of the present invention as definedv inthe following claims. Y Y f e `Iclaim: 'Y

l. A toothbrushcomprising'a'handle hollow in part andrdetining a1 cylinder, a piston-movable in said cylinder fand deiining therewith ai pump chamber of variable size, uid passage means Vconnecting with said chamber and effective to'jsupply duid to said chamber as the size of said chamber increases and yto inhibit the flow of fluid lthrough said passage'as the sizeof said chamber decreases, arrod attached to said' piston and extending out VY'from said handle, afbrush element carried by said rod externallyof said handle, said brush element having a lluid passage therethrough opening toftheexterior thereof, said rod having a liuid passage, communicating vbetween said pump chamberand said brush passage, and power means `:operatively connected'to said piston for reciprocating said piston withinr said cylinder, thereby moving said brush element relative to said handle and pumping lluid to and .through saidbrush element.

2." A toothbrush Acomprising,a'handlehollow in part and defining a cylinder, a piston movablein said cylinder @and delining'therewith a pump chamber of variable' size,

communicate, the latter preferably by way'of a` restricted opening 8l). If desired, suitable'sealing means such as a gasket 79 may be interposed between the bristle'po'rtiornY Dj'and the enlarged head portion S2, in order to ensure that there is nouid leakage around thebase 79.

. The operation ofthe device will in themain be ap'- l parent from the above description. Whenrthe motor 1.2

is energized the crank disk 28 willbe rotated, andthe rod 36 will be reciprocated. It willbe guided for such reciprocation by its engagementwith the iiangey lll and'rby j engagement between the piston disk 38 and theinner sur-Y face 4t) -offthe casing. 2. This reciprocation will'have two effects. It will cause reciprocation offthe brushV assembly B, and particularly'of the bristle portion D thereof,

, 701k relative to the handle A. In addition, it will Vcause move- Y ment of the piston disk 38 between its extreme positions,

When the piston diskSS is in its left hand extreme position the air-inlet -opening 44 will be uncovered-and air f will lill the pump cylinderY (the spacegb'etween the piston fluid 'passage-means connecting with said chamber and eiiective to supply liuid to said chamber as the size of .said eharnberincreasesV and toinhibitthe flow of duid .throughsaid'passagefas the size oi saidecharmber ldecreases, a rodv attached 'to' said'pistonandV extending out from said handle, arbrush element carried VAby-said rod-externally of said handle, said brushy element having a fluid passage; therethrough opening to the exterior thereof, said :rod having awfluid passage communicating between said pumpchamber `and said brushrpassage, and power means .in said handle4 operatively connected to said .piston on the" sidethereof, opposite said rod for reciprocating said piston within'said cylinder, therebymoving said brush Aelement relative to said handle and pumping l-uid'to and through said brush element;

. 3. A toothbrushV comprising a handle hollow inpart at.

an end thereof and there defining a cylinder, a piston movable in said cylinder and defining therewith a pump chamber of variable size, fluid passage means connecting with.

said chamber and `effective to supplyV fluid to said chamber Yas the size of said chamber increases Vand to inhibit the flow 'of iluid through said passageas the sizeof said chamber decreases, a rod attached to said piston and extending out from said end of said handle, a brush ele4 ment carried by said rod externally of said handle, said brush element having a Huid passage therethrough opening to the exterior thereof, said rod having7 a fluid passage communicating between said pump chamber and said brush passage, and power means in said handle operatively connected to said piston on the side thereof opposite said rod for reciprocating said piston within said cylinder, thereby moving said brush element relative to said handle and pumpingtluid to and through said brush element.

4. A toothbrush comprising an elongated handle hollow in part and defining a cylinder, a piston movable in said cylinder and dening therewith a pump chamber of variable size, lluid passage means connecting with said chamber and effective to supply tluid to said chamber as the size of said chamber increases and to inhibit the ow of liuid through said passage as the side of said chamber decreases, a rod attached to said piston and extending out from said handle in the direction of the length of said handle, a brush element carried by said rod externally of said handle, said brush element having a fluid passage therethrough opening to the exterior thereof, said rod having a liuid passage communicating between said pump chamber and said brush passage, and power means operatively connected to said pist-on for reciprocating said piston within said cylinder, thereby moving said brush element relative to said handle and pumping liuid to and `through said brush element.

5. A toothbrush comprising an elongated handle hollow in part and delining a cylinder, a piston movable in said cylinder and delining therewith a pump chamber of variable size, fluid passage means connecting with said chamber and effective to supply Huid to said chamber as the size of said chamber increases and to inhibit the flow of fluid through said passage as the size of said chamber decreases, a rod attached to said piston and extending out from said handle in the direction of the length of said handle, a brush element carried by said rod externally of said handle, said brush element having a liuid passage therethrough opening to the exterior thereof, said rod having a liuid passage communicating between said pump chamber and said brush passage, and power means in said handle operatively connected to said piston on theside thereof opposite said rod for reciprocating said piston within said cylinder, thereby moving said brush element relative to said handle and pumping iiuid to and through said brush element.

6. A toothbrush comprising an elongated handle hollow in part at an end thereof and there deiining a cylinder, a piston movable in said cylinder and defining therewith a pump chamber of variable size, fluid passage means connecting with said chamber and effective to supply liuid to said chamber as the size of said chamber increases and to inhibit the flow of liuid through said passage as the size of said chamber decreases, a rod attached to said pisten and extending out from said end of said handle in the direction of the length of said handle, a brush element carried by said rod externally of said handle, said brush ele` ment having a fluid passage therethrough opening to the exterior thereof, said rod having a liuid passage communicating between said pump chamber and said brush passage, and power means in said handle operatively connected to said piston on the side thereof opposite said rod for reciprocating said piston within said cylinder, thereby moving said brush element relative to said handle and pumping liuid to and through said brush element.

References Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,122,731 12/14 Gilman et al.

1,198,799 9/ 16 Westrup. 1,7 30,030 10/ 29 Bernstein. 1,929,345 10/33 Brown et al. 15-321 2,150,842 3/39 Oliver. 2,869,158 1/59 Sivells 15-22 3,029,651 4/62 Flatt 15-22 X 3,072,937 1/63 Dyer 15-547 X FORElGN PATENTS 520,468 l/56 Canada. 524,182 5/31 Germany.

WALTER A. SCHEEL, Primary Examiner.

Patent Citations
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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3405710 *Jul 14, 1966Oct 15, 1968Leslie J. KovachCleaning and massaging device
US3465751 *Jun 21, 1966Sep 9, 1969Powers Milton ADental cleaning and gum massaging device
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Classifications
U.S. Classification15/344, 601/163, 15/404
International ClassificationA61C17/16, A61C17/36
Cooperative ClassificationA61C17/36
European ClassificationA61C17/36