US 3233784 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Feb. 8, 1966 s. H. GORDON 3,233,784
MEANS FOR DISPENSING PRODUCTS FROM COLLAPSIBLE TUBES Filed Dec. 19, 1962 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 WALL INVENTOR:
STANLEY H. GORDON ZWMAW ATT'YS Feb. 8, 1966 s. H. GORDON 3,233,784
MEANS FOR DISPENSING PRODUCTS FROM GOLLAPSIBLE TUBES 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 38 FIG. 8
Filed Dec. 19, 1962 \\X I l INVENTOR: STANLEY H. GOR DON bliw ATT 'YS United States Patent 3,233,784 MEANS FGR DISPENSING PRQDUCTS FROM CGLLAI'SIBLE TUBES Stanley H. Gordon, 14437 Touhy Ave, Park Ridge, Ill. Filed Dec. 19, 1962, Ser. No. 245,836 3 Claims. (Cl. 22298) This invention relates to dispensing devices, and in particular, to a device for use with collapsible tubes, for extruding the contents thereof.
Packaging certain semi-liquid products would be quite difficult without squeeze tubes. Tooth paste, for example, would be quite diflicult to use if sold in bottles or jars. Among the advantages of a tube over other means of packaging for such products are that the tube can be used to extrude its contents through a nozzle, which permits placement of the contents as desired, and in any given quantity.
However, there is waste, annoyance and inconvenience associated with the use of tubes. Before using the tube, the cap must be removed, and after use, replaced. Occasionally the cap may not be replaced, especially when handled by children. This permits deterioration of the contents, and thereafter hardened portions of the product may be extruded durig use. Often repeated use of the cap for closure results in build up of the product inside the cap, which causes a messy condition when the cap is tightened.
F or best results in use of a tube, it should be squeezed flat progressively, from the bottom towards the neck, as the product is extruded. Few users do this consistently. Metallic tubes, if squeezed in the middle, ahead of the contents, tend to remain constricted at the point where they were squeezed, due to the structural folds and wrinkles surrounding such areas. This restricts passage of the product, and even if the tube is squeezed below the area, the tube walls at this place will generally not recover properly. Tube wall breakage can occur at such areas, and the tube cannot then be flattened readily by the fingers when necessary. Consequently, pockets tend to remain in the exhausted tube which contain relatively large amounts of unextrudable product, and waste results.
Even if the user exercises care, and progressively squeezes the tube from the bottom, the final result is never a smoothly flattened tube, and there are many pockets and folds which contain inaccessible product. If the tube has been improperly squeezed, the waste is even greater. In general, tube product waste has been estimated at $25.00 per year for an average family.
Another detractive feature of collapsible tubes is the matter of storage on bathroom shelves or other crowded places.
In the case of tubes associated with the chore of tooth brushing, the acts of picking up the tube, taking off the cap, squeezing the tube, replacing the cap, and replacing the tube are all extensions of the tiresome chore of brushing the teeth. Consequently, these things are often done carelessly. When the tube is pulled from a shelf it is not uncommon that bottles, glasses, and assorted articles are dislodged and broken, especially when the collapsed end of the tube is curved and catches on adjacent objects. Replacement of the tube may consist of simply dropping it back on the shelf amid other articles, or placing it in a glass where it becomes hard to reach as it becomes exhausted.
" ice It is well know that the teeth should be brushed after each meal or snack, but there is a tendancy not to do this. If one is away from home there is more reason for avoiding this chore, but even if one is at home, it requires a degree of discipline and determination to brush after every meal or snack. In the case of children it may take a direct order to get them to brush their teeth. Since any reduction in the annoyances attendant to the use of tubes would be a reduction of the amount of Work involved in the chore of tooth-brushing, and since there are many occasions where the decision to brush or not brush hangs by a thread, the end result of an invention which makes tooth-brushing easier is that the frequency of tooth-brushing will be increased.
Various mechanical device for squeezing tubes have been proposed. The simplest is a slotted key used to wind the tube upon, starting at the bottom. This device, however, does not always squeeze the tube properly and is awkward to use. The tube cap of course has not been eliminated, and all the aforementioned annoyances are still present and unsolved.
Other prior devices include elaborate progressivesqueezing mechanisms which would be costly to produce. In general, these devices do not permit access for ready cleaning of the shut-off valve, and they would work only if the user operated them correctly. They are not foolproof. For example, in the case of some of these devices, the user might operate the device without first opening the nozzle valve, thereby either possibly breaking the tube or causing a mess at the nozzle. Generally, they do not take into account that after the tube is squeezed, a residual pressure in the tube must be relieved to prevent post-operation oozing of the tube contents.
The main objects of the present invention are to provide an improved device for dispensing semi-fluid material from collapsible tubes which device has the advantages of use of operation, ease of tube replacement, a positive shut-off means which is not messy or unsanitary; and which may be easily wiped or washed when necessary. Another object is to provide an improved device of this kind which will accommodate a range of tube sizes and require no messy, threaded connections between the tube and the shut-off valve means.
In addition, it is an object of my invention that the construction be an economical one, easily mounted, and such that as little pressure as possible be built up in the collapsible tube during operation, and that no appreciable pressure remain in the tube after operation.
ls-o, it is an object of my invention to provide a device which will not be operable when the valve means is closed; and to provide a closure means that may be completely exposed for easy cleaning when desired.
A specific embodiment of my invention is shown in the accompanying drawings in which:
FIGURE 1 is a perspective view of the device, shown with the door closed.
FIG. 2 is a similar view, showing the door opened for use.
FIG. 3 is a full front view of the device, with the door opened for use.
FIG. 4 is a side view showing the lever-operated gear and rachet mechanism.
FIG. 5 is a sectional view, as taken on line 55 of FIG. 1, showing the roller and valve mechanisms.
FIG. 6 is a sectional view as taken on line 6-6 of FIG. 5, showing the tube squeezing roller arrangement.
FIG. 7 is a sectional view, as taken on line 7-7 of FIG. 5, showing the tube end carriage and the arrangement of the closure valve thereon, the opened position of the valve being indicated by dotted outline.
FIG. 8 is a sectional detail of the nozzle, as taken on line S8 of FIG. 7, showing its manner of attachment to a collapsible tube.
FIG. 9 is a perspective view showing the dispensing device in operation; and
FIG. 10 is a perspective view of a modified form of the device showing an arrangement of the door for storing tooth brushes.
As shown in the drawings, the dispenser comprises a housing or casing 19 fitted with a door 12, which is attached to the casing by suitable hinge means at 14, and the bottom of the dispenser is left open, for reasons of access, neatness, and other advantages.
An operating lever 16 for the dispensing mechanism is disposed to extend along the front edge of a side wall of the casing 10 and is shielded from access by a shield member or plate 18 mounted on or extending from the free edge of the door 12. As shown, this shield also serves as a handle means for use in opening the door 12. In the form shown, the operating lever 16 is pivotedly mounted on an outward extension of a roller support shaft 29 and mounted on the operating lever is a pawl 22 which is pivoted 23 and arranged to operatively engage with a gear 24 mounted fast on the extension of the shaft 2%.
A tube winding roller 26 is mounted inside the casing 10, on the shaft 2%, and is fast on the shaft 2% so as to turn therewith. A spring 28 biases the pawl 22 for engagement with gear 24, and a spring 30 is arranged to bias the lever 16 toward the door 12.
A stop 32 is also provided to limit the pivotal movement of the lever 16, the stop being mounted on the casing wall and passing through a suitable slot 34 in lever 1e, whereby the lever 16 will not swing outwardly against the handle 13 and its inward movement will be limited to cause the pawl 22 to turn the gear 24 about one tooth angular distance at a time, as will be hereinafter described. Because the collapsible tube is to be wound, normally, with small increments of movement the gear 24 is preferably made with about fifty to sixty teeth so that on each operation of the lever 16, the roller 26 will turn about six or seven degrees about its axis.
In the construction shown the pawl 22 is so mounted on the lever 16 as to be normally disengaged fro-m the gear 24 when the lever 16 is in its rest position, i.e., at its forwardmost position under the action of the spring 30. Thus the pawl 22 is never engaged with gear 24 unless lever 16 is being depressed. By this means, the tube winding roller 26 is free wheeling except when the lever 16 is being depressed. An axially extending slot 36, in the tube winding roller 26, will accept the folded base strip of the usual collapsible tube, and as the roller 26 is rotated the tube will be wound thereon. In the form shown, a second roller or pressing member 38 is provided, so that the tube may pass between the roller and the pressing member to be flattened. The pressing member or roller 38 is shiftably mounted in side wall slots 49, which are suitably angled downwardly and rearwardly relative to the roller 26, so that as the tube is wound on the roller 26 it is flattened, but on manually pulling the tube off from the roller as, the member 38 will easily move away from roller 26 to permit the free withdrawal of the tube. A spring 42 may be provided, for urging the presser member firmly but yieldably against roller 26.
The presser member 38 is shown as a roller but it may be provided in the form of a molded stop (not shown) which is pinned or hinged to bear yieldably against roller 26 during winding thereof, and to swing away from the roller 26 as the wound on tube increases the diameter of the roller.
It will be understood that the device as described thus is capable of accepting the bottom end of the usual collapsible tube on a winding roller, and that operation of the lever 16 will incrementally advance the gear 24 to turn the roller 26, to wind and flat-ten the tube from the bottom end thereof in coaction with the presser member 38.
As shown in the drawings, the discharge end of the collapsible tube is supported by a traveling valve means 44. Tracks or ways 4-6 are provided in opposite side walls of the casing 10 for the guidance of the valve means during travel thereof as it follows the tube in the course of its being wound on the roller 26. Said valve means comprises a nozzle 48, a frame or carriage 5th, a swinging valve arm 52 having a valve closure member 54, and a spring 56 for normally urging the valve arm and closure member to the open position. As shown, the inner surface of the door 12 is fitted with a flange-like guide and valve actuating element 57 which has a free edge, extending parallel with the travel of the carriage 59, spaced from the surface of the door and projecting toward the hinged or inner edge of the door. This element coacts with a finger 58 provided on the valve arm 52, when the door is closed, and at all positions along the length of the door, for automatically shifting the valve arm 52 to valveopen position whenever the door 12 is opened.
As shown in FIG. 8, the nozzle 48 is attached to the carriage and is designed with an interior taper to permit easy passage of the tube product as it is extruded from the tube, and to prevent build-up of back pressure in the tube during operation. The upper exterior 60 of the nozzle 44 is tapered inwardly, so as to fit into a variety of sizes of collapsible tube spouts, and annular shoulders 62 are formed at intervals along the length of the portion 60 to provide teeth for gripping the inner wall of the tube spout. Such teeth 62 provide holding means so that the traveling valve means 44 is pulled along the ways 46 by the tube spout as it moves towards the tube winding roller 26 during the course of roller operation.
The valve closure member 54 is formed as a semispherical projection above the surface of the arm 52, functioning as a closure-detent so that when it is engaged with nozzle 48 it not only seals the nozzle, but snaps into the sealing position so that it must be forcibly pulled away to open the nozzle. By this means, the door 12 is also held shut, until purposely opened, since the finger 58 engages the guide element 57 and the spring 56 is not strong enough to overcome the grip of the valve closing detent 54 on the nozzle 48. When the door 12 is manually opened, however, the valve arm 5%, being actuated to swing outwardly by the spring 56, serves to move the door to the fully opened position of FIG. 2.
The valve means carriage 50 is preferably arranged to be removable by sliding it downwardly and past a resilient stop or retaining spring 64. Thus the carriage and valve means can be readily taken from the dispenser for cleaning under a faucet. If desired, the carriage 50 can be withdrawn from the dispenser when fitting the nozzle portion 60 into a fresh collapsible tube, but this is not necessary.
If desired, in dispensers used for tooth paste products, tooth brushes can be mounted on the door 12, as shown in FIG. 10. In addition to convenience, this arrangement insures that the user will close the door of the dispenser when the tooth brushing chore is completed, since the door must be closed in order to replace the tooth brush.
As indicated at 66 in FIG. 5, adhesive strips attached to the outer surface of the rear wall of casing 16 may be provided as a convenient means for mounting the dispenser to a bathroom wall.
In operation of my improved dispenser, the door is first opened by means of the shield member of plate 18, and traveling valve means 44 placed at its lowermost position at the retaining spring 64. The bottom flange of a collapsible tube is then introduced into the longitudinal slot 36 of the roller 26 and held in that position while the lever 16 is pushed and released several times. This causes the roller 26 to rotate, pulling the bottom end of the tube between the presser element 38 and the roller 26. The tube is now held by its bottom end and will hang down- Wardly within the dispenser case. The usual tube cap is then removed, and the traveling valve means 44 is raised to fit and engage the tapered portion 60 of the nozzle into the tube spout. When the nozzle is introduced into the tube spout, an upward push on the traveling valve means 44 will serve to force the shoulder 62, on the nozzle portion 60 into gripping engagement with the tube spout, and the valve means 44 will be thus firmly retained on the collapsible tube to be held against its own weight and the friction of the material being extruded from the tube.
Thereafter, the dispenser is ready for use. As lever 16 is pressed, pawl 22 engages gear 24, causing the gear to shift angularly and turn the roller 26 to wind the collapsible tube thereon. Because, in being so wound a large area of the tube is engaged and squeezed only a relatively small increment of rotation of the roller 26 is needed to expel a sufficient amount of the product for ordinary use. Thus the movement of the lever 16 is limited so that the pawl 22 will turn the gear 24 about one tooth at a time. As this takes place, the tube is progressively flattened from the bottom, and pressure is developed within the tube. The tube product is thus forced out of the tube into the nozzle in proportion to the amount that the roller 26 is turned and the tube is flattened. As the expelled amount of the tube product passes through the nozzle the pressure within the tube is relieved rapidly, due to the expanding taper of the nozzle, and this assures that there will be no residual back pressure causing continued flow of product long after operation of the lever 16.
In addition, when the lever 16 is released and returns to its normal position under action of the spring 30, the pawl 22 engages the stop 32 and is thereby swung on its pivot 23 to become disengaged from the gear 24. This permits roller 26 to be free to turn in the unwinding direction as a further means for quick relief of pressure within the tube after a dispensing operation of the lever 16.
As can be seen in FIG. 9, operation of the lever 16 causes the tube product to be extruded in a manner convenient for collection directly onto a tooth brush, or in the case of shaving cream, shampoo, suntan cream or other products, onto the users hand.
After operation of lever 16 and collection of the extruded product, the door 12 is then manually closed. This causes the valve arm 52 to be swung in toward the nozzle, against the action of the spring 56, and by its sliding against the inner surface of the door the finger 58 becomes engaged with the guide means 57. Since valve arm 52 is spring loaded outwardly it tends to hold the door 12 open, and to bear against the door as the door is closed. Just before the door becomes fully closed, however, the valve detent 54 snaps into engagement with the lower end of nozzle 48, closing it tightly. When the door is opened the fiange-like guide means 57 pulls the finger 58 and the valve arm 52 outwardly, forcing the detent 54 to unseat from the nozzle 48. As this occurs, the valve arm 52 is freed to again urge the door outwardly.
Tube products vary somewhat in viscosity, and some are messier than others. If the user, when collecting the product, spreads the product on the nozzle, it will tend to remain there. Depending on the number of times this is done and the type of product, it may be desirable to simply wipe off the nozzle with a tissue once in awhile. The valve 54 is readily wiped oit in the same way if this is desired, since it is deliberately exposed for easy access.
As a tube is exhausted, the traveling valve carriage 50 reaches a stop (not shown) in the track 46. Thereafter, operation of the lever 16 serves to pull out and separate the nozzle portion 60 from the tube spout, just as the tube is exhausted. The valve carriage 50 then drops down to the stop 64, gravitationally and the exhausted and collapsed tube is ready for removal from the dispenser. This is done simply by grasping the free end of the tube and pulling it outwardly. Since the roller 26 is free to turn, the pawl 22 being released from the gear 24, pulling on the exhausted tube causes it to un wind from the roller 26 and become fully disengaged. It will be noticed that the exhausted tube is flattened, as a ribbon, with almost all of the product removed except a very small part within the tube collar at the spout end of the tube. This small remainder can be removed by hand if desired.
It will be observed that when the door 12 is closed, and held there by the detent action of the valve means 52-54, the shield member or plate 18 overhangs the lower end of the dispensing lever 16. Preferably the lever 16 is made narrow at its upper part and widened only at its lower end so that the part that would normally be pressed by a user will be behind the shield 18. Thus the shield 18 serves the dual purpose of providing a handle for opening the door and of covering the lever 16 against inadvertent operation while the door 12 is closed.
Although but one specific embodiment of this invention has been herein shown and described it will be understood that numerous details of the construction shown may be altered or omitted without departing from the spirit of this invention as defined by the following claims.
1. A device for dispensing material from collapsible tubes comprising an elongate housing have front, back and side walls, the front wall serving as a door and being pivoted at the front edge of one side wall to swing between opened and closed positions, said device including (a) a roller extending transversely of said housing between said side walls adjacent one end thereof and having means for attachment to the flattened end of a collapsible tube for winding said tube on the roller periphery,
(b) means for turning said roller to Wind said tube thereon,
(c) a nozzle support disposed transversely of said housing parallel with the axis of the roller and in spaced relation therewith toward the other end of the housing, said support being shit-table in said housing toward said roller,
((1) a nozzle on said support having one end adapted for attachment to the discharge end of a collapsible tube,
(e) and means operated by the door for closing the other end of said nozzle when the door is in its closed position,
(f) the last named means comprising an arm pivoted on the nozzle support to swing across the discharge end of the nozzle and close the same, and means normally urging said arm to swing away from said nozzle and toward said door for operative engagement therewith.
2. A dispensing device as defined by claim 1 wherein the said arm has a rounded detent thereon positioned for sealing engagement with the discharge end of said nozzle, the said door has a longitudinally extending flange-like member spaced from its inner surface and opening toward the pivoted edge of the door, and the said arm terminates in a finger shaped for interlocking engagement beneath said flange-like member when the door is at its closed position, whereby opening movement of the door forces said detent laterally away from the end of said nozzle.
3. A dispensing device as defined by claim 2 wherein the nozzle support is slidably mounted on ways extending longitudinally of the housing, and the flange-like member I 8 on the inner surface of the door extends longitudinally 1,917,366 7/ 1933 Gusdorf 22296 thereof for a distance at least equal. to the extent; of 2,622,768 12/1952 Hatch-er 222 102 mowment h Home Support- 2,670,876 3/1954 Clou 222 102 References Cited by the Examiner V 5 2,907,502 10/ 1959 La g 222557 UNITED STATES PATENTS LOUIS J. DEMBO, Primary Examiner. 1,507,464 9/1924 Clegg 22296 X EVERETT W- KIRBY, Examiner.
1,873,217 8/1932 Reid 222102