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Publication numberUS3263867 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateAug 2, 1966
Filing dateDec 26, 1963
Priority dateDec 26, 1963
Publication numberUS 3263867 A, US 3263867A, US-A-3263867, US3263867 A, US3263867A
InventorsLehmann Herbert G
Original AssigneeValve Corp Of America
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Metering button-type aerosol actuator
US 3263867 A
Abstract  available in
Images(1)
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

' Aug. 2, 1966 H G. LEHMANN 3,2@3,8@7

METERING BUTTON-TYPE AEROSOL ACTUATOR Filed Dec. 26, 1963 Fl .1 as 4 2 54 40 44 United States Patent 3,263,867 METERING BUTTON-TYPE AEROSOL ACTUATOR Herbert G. Lehmann, Easton, Conn., assignor to Valve Corporation of America, Bridgeport, Conn., a corporation of Delaware Filed Dec. 26, 1963, Ser. No. 333,560 12 Claims. (Cl. 222182) This invention relates to small hand-held aerosol devices of the type employing metering valves, and more particularly to devices of this kind wherein the metering or measuring is effected in the button or actuator cap.

A prior metering aerosol actuator cap or button is illustrated and described in the patent to Lawrence T. Ward, #2,892,576 issued June 30, 1959, and entitled Metering Button Valve Assembly. This patented actuator cap has the advantage that it may be readily applied to various makes of aerosol dispensers having non-metering valves, and will convert such dispensers into metering type devices.

A possible drawback of metering aerosol buttons or actuator caps of the kind identified is that a non-metering or continuous discharge can occur if only a light pressure is applied to the actuator button or surface, which pressure is insufficient to fully shift all of the operative, relatively movable parts to the loading or filling position. The intended operation involves closing a discharge passage at the time that the self-contained valve of the aerosol device is opened, to efieot a charging or filling of a confined space known as a metering chamber. This all occurs upon the initial actuation or depressing movement of the actuator. Upon release of the actuator, the self-contained valve of the aerosol container becomes closed and the discharge passage is cleared or opened whereby the contents of the metering chamber will issue from the discharge orifice as a fine spray. In actual practice, if insufiicient depressing force is applied, the discharge passage will not be fully closed but the self-contained valve within the aerosol device will be cracked or partially opened, whereby a continuous flow of aerosol substance occurs, defeating the metering action.

I have found that the prior devices also tend to produce an undesired continuous dis-charge even though the selfcontained valve is intentionally stiff-acting and intended to open only after finger pressure closed off the discharge passage, this fault occurring as a consequence of the close proximity of the finger button to other, non-yielding parts of the movable plunger assembly. Thus the user must exert care in operating the metering button regardless of proper proportioning of the tension or resilient parts.

The above disadvantage and drawback of metering type actuator buttons is obviated by the present invention, and one object of the invention is to provide a novel and improved metering aerosol button of the type which may be used with different kinds of non-metering aerosol dispensers, wherein the likelihood of a continuous discharge occurring is very greatly minimized and for all practical purposes is essentially prevented, thereby virtually insuring a positive metering action each time that the dispensing is desired.

Another object of the invention is to provide an improved positive-acting metering type aerosol button or cap as above set forth, which is of extremely simple construction, involving relatively few parts which may be economically fabricated or produced and assembled, as by simple plastic molding techniques.

Still another object of the invention is to provide an improved metering type actuator button in accordance with the foregoing, which may be constructed in the pot ular jumbo-style sizes, lending themselves readily to styling of the kind where the container and actuator are blended together one with the other, and are commensurate in diameter.

An important feature of the invention resides in the provision of a fixed finger-rest immediately surrounding the yieldable finger operable button means and completely covering non-yielding parts of the movable plunger assembly to prevent contact therewith by the operating finger, thereby to prevent continuous spraying due to overlap of the operating finger.

Another feature of the invention resides in the provision of an improved metering type actuator button which is especially leak-proof, whereby undesired dripping, seepage and the like past the operating parts is eliminated.

Other features and advantages will hereinafter appear.

In the drawings accompanying this specification, similar characters of reference are used to designate like components throughout the several views, in which:

FIG. 1 is an axial sectional view of a metering type actuator button as provided by the invention, mounted on the upper portion of a pressurized aerosol dispensing container of the type provided with a self-contained nonmetering valve. The parts are shown in the non-dispensing or inoperative position.

FIG. 2 is a view like that of FIG. 1, but showing the actuator in the depressed or chamber filling position just prior to discharge of the aerosol substance upon the subsequent release of finger pressure.

FIG. 3 is a top plan view of the improved metering type aerosol button.

FIG. 4 is a horizontal section, taken on the line 4-4 of FIG. 1.

FIG. 5 is a fragmentary vertical section taken on the line 55 of FIG. 3.

FIG. 6 is a horizontal section taken on the line 66 of FIG. 1.

As shown in the drawings, the metering type actuator button is mounted on the upper or neck portion 10 of an aerosol container 12, said neck portion including a usual type of self-contained non-metering valve assemblage having a partly hollow, depressible valve stem 14. The valve stem 14 has a valve shoulder 16 engageable with a valve disk 18 when the valve is closed, to prevent egress of the aerosol substance. A valve return spring 20 coiled around the lower solid portion of the valve stem 14 normally holds the stem in the raised, closed position. When the stem 14 is shifted downward against the action of the spring 20, the valve shoulder 16 will be separated from the valve washer 18, permitting discharge of the aerosol substance through a small side opening and through the upper, axially bored portion 22 of the valve stem.

In accordance with this invention there is provided an improved metering type actuator button or cap assemblage designated generally by the numeral 24, said metering button including a large or jumbo size stationary cap body 26 and a movable button-like diaphragm member 28 carried by the upper portion of the body 26. Below the diaphragm member 28 there is disposed a combination nozzle 30 and valve seat member 32, the latter also providing a metering chamber 34 arranged to be in communication with a discharge passage 36 of the nozzle 30 for the normal positions of the parts as illustrated in FIG. 1. The valve seat member 32 has a central bore receiving the upper portion of the hollow valve stem 22 whereby it is carried on and rigid with said stem, being movable therewith in a vertical direction.

By the invention a unique metering valve assemblage is provided, including a small-diameter and extremely thin diaphragm or valve membrane 40 constituting a sensitive-response valve means which is cooperable with the valve seat member 32 and is so arranged as to be always actuated -fully to the valve-closing position prior to any compression of the spring 20 and prior to downward shifting of the valve stem 14. That is, the valve assemblage in the metering button is weaker in its resistance to closing than the valve-return spring 20 so that at all times the metering valve of the button will close ahead of any opening or even cracking of the self-contained valve comprising'the shoulder 16 and disk 18.

In the illustrated embodiment of the invention the said sensitive-response metering valve assemblage of the button comprises not only the very thin and flexible diaphragm member 40 which is sealingly attached to the valve seat member 32 (as by means of a depending flange 44 of the diaphragm member), but also the large-diameter -very flexible and sensitive-to-finger-pressure member 28 which is adapted toactuate the member 40 so as to effectively close the valve seat of the part 32. This is done in such a manner that the metering chamber 34 is separated or shut off from the discharge passage 36 of the nozzle 30. The valve seat member 32 has a raised annular rim or seat portion 42 which is engageable by the valve diaphragm 40 when the latter is actuated by pressure from a thicker, center finger-engageable portion 46 of the large-size member 28.

The member 28 is attached to only the outer peripheral portion of the stationary cap body 26, preferably at the underside of the top wall 48 thereof. Thus, because of the large size of the member 28 and the thinness of its supporting walls, it presents very little resistance to downward vertical pressure on the central portions, and readily responds by downward movement.

The valve-diaphragm member 40 has an extremely thin wall of paper-like thickness, and is flexible and resilient,

being made of a suitable plastic substance such as a polyethylene formulation. The wall thickness of the valve member 40 may be on the order of from five to thousandths of an inch, and by virtue of the resilience of the plastic material it also offers extremely small resistance to downward movement. The combined resistances of the members 28 and 40 to downward movement is, by this invention, much less than the resistance offered by the return valve spring 20, which latter may be of increased stitfness. As a consequence, at such time that the actuator button is depressed, as for example by applying finger pressure in the manner illustrated in FIG. 2, the metering chamber 34 will be completely closed and sealed off from the discharge channel 36 by the valve diaphragm 40 prior to any downward movement of the valve stem 14. Thus, closure of the passage 36 in the button is effected before opening of the valve comp-rising the parts 16, 18. In consequence it is virtually impossible to effect a continuous discharge of aerosol substance out of the nozzle. Instead, when the parts are actuated as illustrated in FIG. 2, the metering chamber 34 will first be closed or sealed off and thereafter the valve 16, 18 opened, allowing aerosol substance to fill the metering chamber and the upper portion 22 of the stem 14. Upon removal of finger pressure from the button portion 46 of the diaphragm member 28, the self-contained valve 16, 18 will first close, preventing further egress of aerosol substance from the container. Thereafter, the metering chamber 34 will be opened and allowed to communicate with the discharge channel 36 of the nozzle 30. When this occurs, the trapped aerosol substance in the chamber 34 and in the hollow portion 22 of the valve stem 14 will issue forth from the nozzle, as a spray.

The relative stiffness of the valve return spring as compared with the little resistance offered to actuating movement by the members 28 always results in the metering chamber 34 being closed off before any valveopening movement of the stem 14 occurs. Thus, there is effected a.positive metering action, and prevented any continuous discharge of the aerosol substance.

For the purpose of readily mounting the cap body 26 on the neck portion 10 of the container, the cap body is provided with a plurality of depending detent fingers 50-which extend through suitable openings 52 in the finger-engageable member 28. The detent fingers 50 have ledges 54 which are engageable with the underside 56 of the shoulder 58 of the container neck. Thus, the cap body 26 may be readily snapped in place on the container neck portion 10. A vertical slot 59 in the wall of the cap body 26 provides required clearance for the nozzle 30, to permit the slight vertical movement of the same.

The top wall 48 of the cap body has a central opening provided with an upstanding bead 60, which surrounds the relatively inflexible button portion 46 of the fingerengageable member 28, providing a guard and preventing accidental actuation of the button.

The member 28 may be secured in the stationary cap body 26 in any desired manner, keeping in mind that it is preferred to secure the peripheral portions of the member 28 and to leave unsecured all other inwardly disposed portions. The peripheral portions of the member 28 may be cemented to the underside of the top Wall 48, or they may be clamped in place by means of an annulus 62. The member 28 may also be secured to the annulus, or these may be molded as one integral piece, which is then forced upward past an interior bead 64 disposed on the inner wall of the cap 26.

The flange 44 of the member 40 may be cemented to the valve seat member 32, or else heat-fused thereto or secured in any other suitable manner.

It will be understood that the various components making up the metering cap or button assem blage may be economically fabricated as plastic moldings. The pieces 28, 40 have thin walls and are molded of flexible or resilient plastic such as polyethylene or other plastic film material. The parts 30, 32 and 26 may be more rigid and either molded of a more rigid plastic or else of polyethylene having a suitable formulation.

It will be noted that the valve-diaphragm member 40 is completely sealed to the valve seat member 32 whereby leakage of aerosol substance past the member 40 is positively prevented. The size of the metering chamber 34 may be kept advantageously small by provision of the separate member 40, as shown; its size may be varied to suit particular requirements, as may be readily understood, by varying the size and shape of the member 32 (which is conveniently shaped like a plug). The thickened portion 46 of the large-diameter diaphragm member 28 insures the effecting of a complete closure even though the valvediaphragm 40 is extremely thin-walled and flexible. Because of the large diameter of the member 28 and its securement along the peripheral edge thereof, the resistance offered by such member to downward pressure is relatively small, especially as compared with the opposing action of the valve return spring 20. By virtue of the valve seat 42 being constituted as a thin or narrow circular ridge for all of its length, an effective seal will be obtained when the button 46 forces the valve-diaphragm 40 against the member 32.

An important feature of the invention resides in the provision of the clearance openings 52 in the member 28, in conjunction with the detent mounting fingers 50 of the cap body 26. With such construction the cap body may be readily fabricated in simple molds, this same being true of the member 28, and there is avoided any complicated or difficult-to-mold shapes while at the same time the advantage ofa jumbo-type cap constituted of relatively few pieces is had.

The combination of the thick-walled or relatively rigid portion 46 of the member 28 and the thin-walled, flexible valve member 40, in conjunction with the valve seat member 32 constitutes an important feature of the invention, in that there is obtained the advantages of a small metering chamber, a thin-walled completely sealing type valve closure which is readily distortable, and a semi-rigid thickwalled backing 46 which insures a uniform contact between the members 32 and 40.

It will now be understood from the foregoing that I have provided an advantageous metering aerosol button construction which is especially positive in its action, to the end that improper operation resulting in a continuous discharge of the aerosol substance is largely prevented. The metering button is simple in its construction and economical to fabricate and assemble. Moreover, it has the advantage of a guard-type cap, since the portion 46 is entirely surrounded by the stationary guard rim 60 of the cap body 26. Also, by virtue of the large size of the diaphragm member 28 and its supporting cap structure 26 the cap actuator is seen to be of the popular jumbo size which may be readily stylized in connection with existing containers and aerosol dispensers.

The provision of the closely juxtaposed finger rest means comprising the stationary rim 60 which entirely surrounds the yieldable button portion 48 constitutes an important feature of the invention, since it is one of the essential factors for preventing undesired continuous spraying of the aerosol substance. It will be noted that the cap body 26 completely encloses peripheral portions of the valve seat member 32 and adjoining peripheral portions of the valve diaphragm 40, which represent non-yielding or non-flexible parts of the movable plunger assembly. These parts are interiorly located whereby they cannot be contacted by the operating finger. Instead, the finger must engage the movable button portion 46 whereby there is effected a positive closing of the metering hamber by the valve diaphragm 40. It therefore becomes impossible for a user to improperly operate the device, as by applying finger pressure in a manner which will not eifect closing of the metering chamber 34. In any open type construction wherein there is not provided the rigid and fixed surrounding cap body 26, any off center pressure on the button may result in a depressing movement of the plunger assembly without the necessary closing off of the metering chamber. This, then, would result in a continuous discharge as distinguished from a limited, metered discharge of the aerosol substance.

Variations and modifications may be made within the scope of the claims, and portions of the improvement may be used without others.

I claim:

1. A metering actuator button construction for an aerosol dispenser, comprising in combination:

(a) a valve-seat member adapted to receive and to be carried by the upper portion of the depressible hollow valve stem of an aerosol dispenser, said member having a bore for communication with the bore of the hollow valve stem, and further having a continuous and endless valve seat extending around the said bore and disposed in the upper portion of the member,

(b) a flexible valve diaphragm of paper-thin walls, carried by the valve seat member, said paper-thin Walls spanning the area encompassed by the said valve seat, and

(c) a finger-engageable valve actuator member comprising a relatively inflexible portion disposed above and engageable with the valve diaphragm and adapted to press the latter in full and firm contact with the valve seat, said finger-engageable member including thin-walled flexible support portions by which it is mounted in juxtaposition to the valve diaphragm, said support portions enabling the fingerengageable member to be shifted toward the valve diaphragm with relatively little restraint.

2. A metering button according to claim 1, wherein:

(a) the valve seat member has a lateral hollow extension constituting a discharge nozzle, and has a channel leading from said nozzle to a location adjacent the outside of the continuous valve seat.

3. A metering button according to claim 2, wherein:

(a) the valve seat member comprises a plug-like body,

and

(b) the valve diaphragm comprises an inverted cup having its rim encircling and sealed to the plug-like body.

4. A metering button according to claim 1, wherein:

(a) there is a stationary guard surrounding the inflexible portion of the finger-engageable member and overlying the flexible support portions thereof, shielding the latter against accidental engagement by the finger which operates the actuator member.

5. A metering button according to claim 4, wherein:

(a) the stationary guard comprises a cap body having a transverse top wall, said top wall overlying the flexible support portions of the finger-engageable member.

6. A metering actuator button construction for an aerosol dispenser, comprising in combination:

(a) a valve-seat member adapted to receive and to be carried by the upper portion of the depressible hollow valve stem of an aerosol dispenser, said member having a bore for communication with the bore of the hollow valve stem, and further having a continuous and endless valve seat extending around the said bore and disposed in the upper portion of the member,

(b) a flexible valve diaphragm of paper-thin walls, carried by the valve seat member, and spanning the area encompassed by the said valve seat, and

(c) a finger-engageable valve actuator member comprising a relatively inflexible portion disposed above and engageable with the valve diaphragm and adapted to press the latter in full and firm contact with the valve seat, said finger-engageable member including thin-walled flexible support portions by which it is mounted in juxtaposition to the valve diaphragm, said support portions enabling the fingerengageab-le member to be shifted toward the valve diaphragm with relatively little restraint,

((1) said valve seat member having a hollow lateral extension constituting a discharge nozzle, and having a channel leading from said nozzle to a location adjacent the outside of the continuous valve seat,

(e) said valve seat member comprising a plug-like body,

(f) said valve diaphragm comprising an inverted cup having its rim encircling and sealed to the plug-like body,

(g) said finger-engageable member comprising a largediameter disk having a thick-walled center portion engageable with the valve diaphragm,

(h) and a stationary cap body adapted to be rigidly mounted on the aerosol dispenser, said cap body being secured to peripheral portions of the finger-engageable member to mount the same for easy vertical movement within limits.

7. A metering button according to claim 6, wherein:

(a) the cap body comprises an inverted cup-shaped structure having a side opening through which the discharged aerosol substance may pass,

(b) said inverted cup-shaped structure having an access opening in it top wall, accommodating the thick- ;valled center portion of the finger-engageable mem- 8. A metering button according to claim 7, wherein:

(a) the said top wall of the cap body surrounds the thick-walled portion of the finger-engageable memher and is at least as high as the latter, thereby to constitute a guard and prevent inadvertent actuation of the finger-engageable member.

9. A metering button according to claim 8, wherein:

(a) there are means for mounting the cap body on the container, comprising a plurality of depending detent fingers engageable with a shoulder portion of the container,

(b) said finger-engageable member having clearance openings through which the said fingers extend.

10. A metering actuator button according to claim 6,

and further including, in combination:

(a) a pressurized aerosol container having a vertically movable hollow valve stem and having a valve return spring continually urging said stem to a raised, sealing position,

(b) said return spring resisting movement of the valve stem to an extent appreciably greater than the resistance offered by the valve diaphragm and fingerengageable member to downward movement into their valve-closing positions whereby the valve diaphragm closes against the valve seat prior to downward movement of the valve stem to a position permitting discharge of the aerosol substance from the container.

11. A metering button according to claim 10, wherein:

(a) the stationary cap body comprises a rigid inverted cup-like structure having a transverse top wall in which there is a center access opening,

(b) said center portion of the finger-engageable member being disposed in said access opening, said fingerengageable member being retained against the underside of the top wall of the cap body. 12. A metering button according to claim 11, wherein: (a) said valve seat member has a metering chamber in its upper portion, within the confines of the valve seat.

References Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,892,576 6/1959 Ward. 2,989,217 6/1961 Focht. 3,006,510 10/1961 Sagarin 222-394 X 3,138,301 6/1964 Ward.

RAPHAEL M. LUPO, Primary Examiner.

LOUIS J. DEMBO, Examiner.

F. H. HANDREN, Assistant Examine

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US2892576 *Nov 14, 1957Jun 30, 1959Ward Lawrence TMetering button valve assembly
US2989217 *Mar 18, 1960Jun 20, 1961Precision Valve CorpMetering valve-operating button for aerosol dispenser containers
US3006510 *Oct 20, 1959Oct 31, 1961Vca IncAerosol cap construction
US3138301 *Sep 27, 1961Jun 23, 1964Seary LtdMetering button cap for use with pressurized containers
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US3955716 *Sep 23, 1974May 11, 1976L'orealDecorative cover for valved end of pressurized containers
US5027982 *Mar 29, 1990Jul 2, 1991S. C. Johnson & Son, Inc.Aerosol actuator and overcap assembly
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US8865139Jul 9, 2014Oct 21, 2014Foamix Pharmaceuticals Ltd.Topical tetracycline compositions
US8871184Oct 1, 2010Oct 28, 2014Foamix Ltd.Topical tetracycline compositions
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WO2000075045A1 *Jun 7, 2000Dec 14, 2000Dmitry Jurievich KonyakhinCap-siphon for distributing a gaseous beverage and method for forming a valve for said cap-siphon
Classifications
U.S. Classification222/182, 222/447, 222/394
International ClassificationB65D83/14
Cooperative ClassificationB65D83/546
European ClassificationB65D83/54C
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Jul 1, 1982ASAssignment
Owner name: PITTWAY CORPORATION; 1160 NORTH SILVER LAKE RD., C
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST.;ASSIGNOR:ETHYL PRODUCTS COMPANY;REEL/FRAME:004013/0652
Effective date: 19810824