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Publication numberUS3203418 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateAug 31, 1965
Filing dateJun 20, 1962
Priority dateJun 20, 1962
Publication numberUS 3203418 A, US 3203418A, US-A-3203418, US3203418 A, US3203418A
InventorsJohnston Charles A
Original AssigneeJohnston Charles A
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Ear swabs
US 3203418 A
Abstract  available in
Previous page
Next page
Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

1965 c. A. JOHNSTON 3,203,418

EAR SWABS Filed June 20, 1962 INVENTOR.

CHA LEYAJOHJVSZO/V BY V United States Patent 3,203,418 E SWABS Charles A. Johnston, De Kalb County, Ga. (224 Willow Lane, Decatur, Ga.) Filed June 20, 1962, Ser. No. 203,915 2 Claims. (Cl. 128-269) This invention relates to an ear swab and particularly to an sanitary ear swab having a removable material which is limited to the extent of insertion in the ear and which cannot become detached but is readily removable for replacement.

Some individuals find it necessary from time to time to remove a certain amount of the ear wax from the ears. It is not desirable to remove all of the wax because some of it is needed to keep a healthy condition in the ears. Ordinary implements such as toothpicks, small wooden sticks, metal pieces, paper clips, finger nails, soiled handkerchiefs and the like are highly undesirable as a means or method of removing this ear wax since they can damage the delicate portions of the ear, can start an infection or a fungus condition or other types of ailments into the ear. There is a demand for the sort of device presented in the present invention which has among its ad vantages a very sanitary fabric member which cannot become dislodged but which is easily replacable at any time and which by the nature of the shape is limited as to the extent of insertion into the opening of the ear.

Generally described, without restriction on the scope of my invention as described in the appended claims, the present invention is an ear swab comprising a swab holder or base member or the like which resembles a conventional safety pin and which may be manufactured from stainless steel or other similar material or which may be made from other metals suitably plated by chrome or nickel or the like. The openable shaft is blunt on the end as opposed to that found on a safety pin. Also, it is desirable that the bent wire of the holder or base member have only one loop which is not in a circle but is semi-circular or other shape less than 360 to receive from the openable side and member a tubular fabric member which may be woven, or which could be pressed gauze or the like formed in a tubular shape, and which has the central opening therethrough to receive the bent wire of the base holder whereby the fabric swab member may be inserted onto the holder and pushed around the curve of the bend in one end thereof. The woven swab material, or similar material, preferably is manufactured under acceptable sterile condition and packaged under such condition in packages either of a continuous roll, somewhat like dental floss, or in individual cut lengths in individual cellophane or plastic packages so that the material can be used and replaced and discarded after use. Such sanitary, disposable swabs as used on the present invention can be made and sold at an extremely small cost and can be used as a disposable or expendable item much in the sense that dental floss and other materials are disposable. One end of the holder is the head which locks the free moving member therein and the other end has the smooth curvature of the single loop which is covered normally by the fabric swab. The curvature of the loop is selected according to the average size of ear openings and the size of the holder itself is such that the device is held at the head-end and inserted with the swab-end into the ear opening for a limited distance and then moved in various directions both inwardly and outwardly and axially about the longitudinal axis of the holder to free a certain amount of wax in the ear.

A primary object of this invention is to provide an ear swab having a disposable swab member securely attached thereon but selectively removable therefrom to be replaced.

A further object of this invention resides in the construction mentioned in the preceding paragraph together with an arrangement on the swab holder whereby the extent of the insertion of the swab into the ear is limited so that the device cannot be inserted too far and injure delicate ear portions.

Another object of this invention resides in the use of fabric swabs having a central opening therein which are insertable on a curvature of the holder of the swab in such a manner as to eliminate the use of loose cotton or other devices which could become dislodged inside the ear.

A further object of this invention resides in the inexpensive construction of the holder which is a type of modified safety pin and the relatively inexpensiveness of the replacable swab elements or swabs which can be manufactured in continuous woven fabric lengths rolled into balls or spools to be cut selectively by the user.

Other and further objects and advantages of my invention will become apparent upon reading the following specification taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, wherein:

FIG. 1 is a side elevation view of the ear swab of the present invention with the swab holder opened to receive a swab thereon.

FIG. 2 is a side elevation view of the ear swab shown in FIG. 1 with the swab element pushed to position for use and the holder locked in place to prevent the swab from becoming detached therefrom.

FIG. 3 is a diagrammatic perspective view illustrating the typical holding of the ear swab of FIGS. 1 and 2 in the hand for insertion in the ear.

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of a modified holder.

Referring initially to FIGS. 1 and 2 of the drawings, the ear swab in its entirety or as a whole is designated by the reference numeral 10 and comprises essentially two parts, the base or holder 12 which in some respects resembles a modified safety pin having a closed shielded head 14 thereon, permanently and fixedly fitted as by soldering, pressure or otherwise onto one end of one end 16 on one side 18 of a bent wire member 20 having a smooth semi-circular bend 22 at one end thereof from which terminates the other side 24 in a blunt end 26.

The holder 12 may be manufactured from any suitable material but it is suggested that high quality stainless steel be used throughout so that the device can be Washed without rusting or can even be sterilized in a sterilizer for use in hospitals, doctors oflices and other places where sanitation is even more important. The head 14 preferably would be constructed from a high quality metal such as stainless steel or chrome or nickel-plated steel but could be manufactured from one of the many plastic materials as sometimes found on baby diaper pins and the wire of other suitable materials.

. In open position as shown in FIG. 1 the openable side 24 or wire 24 of the pin 12 is adapted to receive thereon a fabric swab member 28 of tubular formation having a central bore or continuous opening 36) therein which receives the length of member 24 and permits the swab 28 to be pushed and fed onto the pin holder 12 to the position shown in FIG. 2. After the swab member 28 is in position the Wire 24 is closed with the end 26 re-inserted into the shielded portion of the head 14 in the manner of a conventional safety pin thereby securely locking the device and permanently fastening the woven fabric swab 28 in place whereby it is virtually impossible to dislodge or detach same except by manipulation with the fingers. The length of the swab member 28 is variable and selectable according to the likes and dislikes of the users and the doctors and other individuals who will be working with the device but it is worthwhile in one embodiment to have the member 28 long enough to extend a good portion of the wires 18, 24 of the holder 12 in order to prevent accidental exposure of one of the wires during some phase of ear cleaning.

It is to be noted that while in the present embodiment which is a preferred embodiment the swab member 28 is shown as a woven fabric member, this is a matter of choice and construction and the swab can be made in some other manner. However, the fact that the fabric is woven assures considerable strength in the device which resists any tearing or removal from the holder once in place in the position of FIG. 2 and virtually assures positively that the swab cannot become dislodged. Additionally, Woven fabrics do not have the tendency when made from certain type of sanitary cotton and the like to fuzz-up or form fuzzy surfaces and therefore eliminates essentially the problem of parts of the swab dislodging from the swab 28 itself.

It is believed that the operation of the device is known from the previous description and the drawings themselves without tedious detail. However, it is worthwhile to note in FIG. 3 that a preferable manner of using the device is to hold it in between the thumb 34 and the forefinger 36 of the hand 38 at the head 14 of the member 12 and then to insert the swab 28 at the curvature 22 into the ear opening and then to move the entire device inwardly and outwardly as desired as well as rotating it, oscillating it and reciprocating it in whatever manner is desired to dislodge a portion of the wax in the ear. The degree to which the two side Wire members 18, 24 radiate or converge towards the bend 22 and away from the bend 22 towards the head 14 is a matter of degree and selected according to the average size of ear openings so as to govern to some extent, which is not extremely critical as far as ten-thousandths of inches are concerned, the insertion of the swab 28 into the depth of the ear opening. The curvature 22 itself and the shape of the ear opening having off-set canals prevents insertion beyond a critical point and altogether the unusual and novel arrangement of this device precludes all reasonable possibility of damaging the critical and sensitive portions of the ear as does often take place through the use of toothpicks, metal pieces, gem clips and the like.

The device shown in FIGS. 1 through 3, inclusive, has been modified slightly to employ a slightly ditferent type of holder 50 to replace the holder 12 of the previous embodiment. Holder 50 may be manufactured entirely by bending a length of wire which preferably would be of a high quality stainless steel so that the embodiment shown in FIG. 4 may be easily and satisfactorily sterilized in a doctors ofiice sterilizer or in hospitals and the like. It is to be noted that the embodiment shown in FIG. 4 does not employ the shielded head 14 of the arrangement shown in FIG. 1 but rather utilizes a bent wire loop 52 having a crook 54 therein to receive and lock the end 56 of the member 58. The loop 52 is formed from the end of the length 60 of the continuous wire which forms the entire holder 50 and the end 62 of the length 58 is the detachable terminal end which corresponds to end 26 in the previous embodiment and onto which is inserted the open bore or interior opening at of the tubular woven fabric swab member 28 which is used in its identical form on either the embodiment of FIG. 1 or FIG. 4. The operation and use of the swab or ear cleaner is the same in the embodiment of FIGS. 1 and 4 and no further description of the use and function is necessary. It is to be noted that the strength of the wire which forms the embodiment in FIG. 4 should be such that the tension on the wires and particularly member 58 at end 62 is sufiicient to firmly hold the end 62 in position in the crook 54 without easy detachment therefrom.

The ear swab and ear cleaner device shown and described in the instant application has particular use for removing excess wax as described previously. The device also may be used readily to remove insects or other small objects which have found their way into the ear, especially from the ears of children who sometimes insert small objects into the ear opening. Another use of the device is to remove water in the ears after bathing or swimming and also to apply medication to infected locations or abrasions and to medicate the ear with oils or other medications.

While I have shown and described a particular embodiment of my invention and also a second embodiment thereof together with suggested operation and uses and also suggested materials of construction and the like, this is by way of disclosure and illustration only and is not to be construed as any sort of limitation since various alterations, changes, deviations, variations, substitutions, modification and changes may be made in the embodiments shown and described without departing from the scope of my invention as defined in the appended claims.

I claim:

1. In an ear swab,

(a) a swab retaining holder having an arcuate retaining end portion on one end thereof,

(b) said retaining holder having an openable end on the other end from said retaining end portion and said openable end leading to said retaining end portion on the other end,

(c) and an elongated swab member in tubular formation of fabric-like material having an opening therein inserted on said arcuate retaining end portion when open and said swab member being positioned at the arcuate retaining end portion about the curvature of said wire to be inserted into the ear.

2. The device in claim 1 wherein said holder has closure means thereon to selectively close the openable end.

References Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS 781,292 1/05 Murphree 128-269 1,853,238 4/32 Shields l28269 1,950,310 3/34 Jones 24161 2,124,049 7/38 Battista et al. 24-262 2,335,482 11/43 Carlson 2416l 2,510,961 6/50 Davis 128-269 2,550,734 5/51 Thompson 128269 2,927,583 3/60 Powell 128--284 3,052,938 9/62 Hill et a1. 24161 FOREIGN PATENTS 145,090 7/02 Germany.

RICHARD A. GAUDET, Primary Examiner.


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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4233025 *Mar 8, 1979Nov 11, 1980Larson William AHollow cotton roll
US4259955 *Jul 31, 1978Apr 7, 1981Barbara RitterApplicator swab and method of making the same
US4306555 *Apr 15, 1980Dec 22, 1981Barbara RitterApplicator swab and method of making the same
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US5334212 *Nov 17, 1993Aug 2, 1994Karell Manuel LEar wax extractor with depth control
US5346287 *May 28, 1993Sep 13, 1994The Morgan Crucible Company PlcLow contamination swab employing tubular knit fabric
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U.S. Classification604/1, 606/162
International ClassificationA61F11/00, A61F13/38
Cooperative ClassificationA61F11/006, A61F13/38
European ClassificationA61F11/00E, A61F13/38