US 3323690 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
JWWE 3%? R M. MCJNAHQN SQUEEZE ."XCTUATOR ASSEMBLY 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 Filed Sept. 22, 1965 INVENTOR RiCHARD M. MON
ATTORNE SQUEJEZE ActwAmR Filed Sept 22, 3.965
United States Patent 3,323,690 SQUEEZE ACTUATOR ASSEMBLY Richard M. Monahon, Basking Ridge, N.J., assignor to OEL 1110., Elizabeth, N.J., a corporation of New Jersey Filed Sept. 22, 1965, Ser. No. 489,188 7 Claims. (Cl. 222-40213) This invention relates to a valve actuator and discharge spout assembly for dispensers such as aerosol containers, and more particularly to a novel and inexpensive twopiece valve actuator which effects dispensing of the container contents by a unique squeezing motion of the thumb and forefinger.
In recent years the use of so-called squeeze bottles of polyethylene or similar plastic has become increasingly widespread. Such flexible and resilient containers are customarily gripped between the thumb and forefinger which are then brought together to squeeze or inwardly deform the bottle and thereby forcibly expelling a product charge through the dispensing orifice. Such containers have been widely used for many products, including nasal sprays, deodorants, etc.
It is a principal object of the present invention to provide a valve actuator for pressure dispensers such as aerosol containers wherein the valve is opened by a squeezing action of the thumb and forefinger similar to the operation of squeeze bottles, and wherein such squeezin-g action uniquely permits a precise control of the valve.
It is another object of the invention to provide a squeeze actuator comprised of a minimum of readily fabricated and interfitted parts whereby the actuator assembly may be manufactured and sold at minimum cost.
It is a further object of the invention to provide a squeeze actuator featured by a unique and effective camming action whereby radially inwardly directed squeezing force of the thumb and forefinger is effectively and efficiently converted into axial movement of the dispensing spout thereby to open the aerosol container valve.
Other objects and advantages of this invention will become apparent from the following detailed description taken in connection with the accompanying drawings, in which FIG. 1 is a side elevation of the actuator spout assembly shown associated with a valved pressure dispenser;
FIG. 2 is similar to FIG. 1, the assembly being rotated through 90 about its vertical axis;
FIG. 3 is an exploded perspective view of the actuator assembly;
FIG. 4 is a sectional elevation taken on the lines 44 of FIG. 3, a representative container being illustrated in dotted lines;
FIG. 5 is a side sectional elevation of the assembly on an enlarged scale; also showing a representative valve assembly of a pressure dispenser associated therewith;
FIG. 6 is a view similar to FIG. 5, wherein however the actuator has been shifted to valve opening position; and
FIG. 7 is a sectional plan view taken on the line 7-7 of FIG. 5.
Referring to the drawings, the actuator spout assembly of the instant invention is shown at 10 and is associated with a pressure dispenser which in the exemplary embodiment comprises an elongated cylindrical container 12 having a reduced upper end 14 (FIG. 5). The actuator assembly '10 is formed from but two elements, name- .ly an outer housing element 16 and an inner spout element 18. The elements are preferably and inexpensively molded from plastic material which is substantially rigid 3,323,690 Patented June 6, 1967 but capable of limited yielding resilient movement, such as polyethylene or the like.
The housing element 16 is generally tubular and is provided near the upper end thereof with a pair of laterally directed and oppositely disposed apertures 20, and a further central aperture 22 at the upper end thereof. The lower end of the housing 16 is open and the inner periphery thereof is provided with a plurality of radially inwardly directed ribs 24 provided with inwardly extending nibs at 26 (FIG. 7) which cooperate with a groove 28 on reduced portion 14 of container 12, the resilient character of the housing 16 permitting the same to snap past the enlarged upper end of the container with the nibs 26 seating in the groove 28 to thereby retain the actuator assembly on the end of the container during usage thereof.
The spout element 18 is received within the tubular housing 16 as clearly seen in FIG. 5, with the central tubular spout 30 projecting upwardly through the housing central aperture 22, the surrounding neck 32 of the housing serving as a guide during valve-opening reciprocation of spout 30. At its lower end the spout 30 is pro vided with an actuator neck portion 34 of conventional form which cooperates with a valve assembly 36 in the aerosol or like dispenser container 12. In the exemplary form, the valve 36 is of the type shown in the patent to Ayres, 2,805,003, but it is apparent that the actuator portion 34 may be associated with any of the many suitable valve constructions well known to those skilled in the art.
Integrally molded with the spout 30 and actuator stem portion 34, and extending on opposite sides from a point adjacent the lower end thereof are the finger-receiving portions 38 which normally protrude radially outwardly through the apertures 20 in housing 16, as clearly seen in FIG. 1.
The rounded upper shoulder 40 of the finger-receiving portions 38 bears against the upwardly and outwardly 'valve 36. The resilience of the valve assembly 36 which maintains the same normally closed also urges actuator stem portion 34 upwardly and accordingly the entire inner member 18, whereby finger-receiving portions 38 are cammed radially outwardly to the illustrated positions in FIGS. 1 and 5 by engagement of the finger portion surfaces 40 with the downwardly facing upwardly and outwardly inclined surfaces 42 of housing 16.
In this position as clearly seen in FIG. 1, the fingerreceiving portions 38 are readily grasped between the thumb and forefinger or between the thumb and knuckle of the forefinger, the container 12 being comfortably received in the cupped palm of the hand. Thereafter, the portions 38 are squeezed radially inwardly and thus toward each other, thereby tending to urge the outer members 16 upwardly as finger portion surfaces 40 engage the housing surfaces 42. Inasmuch, however, as the housing is axially fixed by the frictional engagement of the several ribs 24 with the container groove 28, FIG. 4, the housing cam surfaces 42 thus force the finger-receiving portion 38 downwardly as the same are squeezed inwardly by the thumb and forefinger, in turn axially shifting spout 30 downwardly as clearly seen in FIG. 6, whereby the container valve assembly 36 is unseated :by the actuator stem portion 34 bearing thereagainst to dispense a pressurized charge of the container contents through the spout 30 and the dispensing orifice 44 thereof.
With the container 12 lightly received within the hand of the user, it will be seen that precise tactile control may .be exercised by the user in controlling discharge from the container 12 in both the duration of the valveunseated position and also in the degree to which the valve is unseated. This mode of control of the product flow, both as to quantity and rate is surprising in its simplicity and effectiveness with the structure thus described.
As is apparent from FIGS. 3 and 5, the two elements 16, 18 are quite readily assembled, requiring only that the housing 16 be oriented with respect to the inner element 18 to position the housing apertures 20 in alignment with the finger-receiving portions 38 after which the 'housing 16 is telescoped over the spout member 18. When the spout assembly 18 has been sufficiently inserted within the housing 16, the finger-receiving portions 38 will appear at the aperture 20 and pop outwardly therethrough both by their natural resilience and the camming effect of portions 42 of the housing thereat.
If desired, the finger receiving portions 48 may be serrated as illustrated or otherwise configured to insure positive grip thereof by the user. Further, the provision of such means facilitates use of the instant appliance in the dark wherein the fingers may thus readily detect the opposed finger-receiving portions.
It is likewise apparent that the instant actuator assembly may be readily snapped from the container and thereafter disassembled for cleaning if desired, or in like fashion a single actuator assembly may be successfully employed with successive dispensing containers 12. By virtue of the simple construction shown, however, the cost of fabricating the subject actuator assembly is sufficiently inexpensive to permit the same to be a throwaway item along with the container 12 when the same is exhausted.
What I claim is: 1. A valve actuator assembly for aerosol containers comprising a first tubular element having a pair of oppositely disposed lateral apertures and a central aperture at one end thereof, and a second element including a tubular spout and having radially movable camming means thereon, said second element being inserted within said first element to dispose said spout axially within said element central aperture and said camming means extending through said opposite lateral apertures, said camming means upon radial movement thereof c0- operating with said first member to impart linear movement to said spout.
2. A squeeze actuator assembly for valved dispensers comprising a housing having means for attaching the same to a dispenser,
a tubular valve actuator spout having opposed finger receiving portions movably mounted thereon,
said housing having an internal bore for slidably receiving and guiding said spout and having apertures through which said finger receiving portions are accessible,
and means cooperably associated with said housing and said spout for converting motion of said finger receiving portions in directions substantially perpendicular to the axis of said spout into axial spout motion.
3. The actuator assembly of claim 2 wherein said motionconverting means includes cooperating inclined cam surfaces on said housing and on said finger-receiving portions.
4. The actuator assembly of claim 3 wherein said cam surfaces are disposed on said housing at said openings, and on said finger-receiving portions thereadjacent.
5. The actuator assembly of claim 2 wherein said finger-receiving portions comprise diametrically opposed radially extending elements of substantial axial length each having a narrow flexible connection to said actuator spout adjacent the lower end thereof.
6. The actuator assembly of claim 5 wherein the upper ends of said finger-receiving portions comprise said cam surfaces and said housing cam surfaces are disposed at the upper end of said openings, each comprising an upwardly and outwardly inclined surface.
7. The actuator assembly of claim 2 wherein said finger-receiving portions are integral with said spout.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,596,592 5/1952 Parker 2222l3 X 2,943,766 7/1960 Orr 222505 X 3,087,656 4/1963 Dougherty 222-213 X ROBERT B. REEVES, Primary Examiner.
HADD S. LANE, Examiner.