|Publication number||US3399806 A|
|Publication date||Sep 3, 1968|
|Filing date||May 1, 1967|
|Priority date||May 1, 1967|
|Publication number||US 3399806 A, US 3399806A, US-A-3399806, US3399806 A, US3399806A|
|Inventors||Lucas Malcolm B|
|Original Assignee||Procter & Gamble|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (5), Referenced by (46), Classifications (10)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
Sept. 3, 1968 M. B. LUCAS DELAYED OPENING DISPENSER 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 Filed May 1. 1967 I INVENTOR. Malcolm B. Lucas wmg ,4. 6W
ATTORNEY 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 Fig. 1
V Fig. 5
Sept. 3, 1968 Filed May 1, 1967 28 INVENTOR.
Malcolm B. Lucas ATTORNEY United States Patent 3,399,806 DELAYED OPENING DISPENSER Malcolm B. Lucas, Cincinnati, Ohio, assignor to The Procter & Gamble Company, Cincinnati, Ohio, a corporation of Ohio Filed May 1, 1967, Ser. No. 635,137 6 Claims. (Cl. 222-5.45)
ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE A dispenser comprising a container having a water soluble seal in its dispensing outlet. A separating member is interposed between the soluble seal and the container contents to prevent the contents of the container from dissolving the, seal before the dispenser is activated. The separating member is moved, removed, or fractured when activating the dispenser such that its contents can be dispensed after the water soluble seal has been dissolved.
This invention relates to the dispensing art. More particularly, it relates to a self-contained dispensing unit for liquid washing additives and the like that is particularly well suited for use in an automatic washing machine as an unattached accessory unit adapted for placement in the washer basket with the clothes being washed.
As an automatic washing machine goes through a typical wash cycle, it is desirable to add various washing additives at proper times in the cycle for optimum washing and cleaning results. For example, the addition of liquid bleaches and/or fabric conditioners and softeners are most desirably made after the machine has gone through a pre-determined portion of the washing cycle in order that they will have their most beneficial elfects. Preferably, the liquid bleach is introduced 3-5 minutes after the wash cycle has been initiated whereas the fabric softener is introduced during the final rinse portion of the washing machine cycle. Unless the washing machine is fully automatic and includes a special liquid dispensing device for these additives, it is necessary for the user to periodically return to the machine to add the liquid bleach and/ or the fabric softener at appropriate times. The latter procedures is so inconvenient and cumbersome that it is not followed by the vast majority of automatic washing machine users. 0n the other hand, when it is followed, it defeats in part the principal advantages of the automatic nature of such washing machines.
It is the principal object of this invention to provide a self-contained liquid dispenser that can be filled and placed in an automatic washing machine at the initiation of the wash cycle such that the liquid in the dispenser will be discharged at the proper time in the washing cycle.
Another object of the invention is the provision of a delayed opening dispenser that is reliable and can be employed for automatically adding any of various liquid additives to an automatic washing machine.
Still another object of the invention is the provision of a delayed opening dispenserwhich can be adapted such that its contents are, discharged after a predetermined time lag.
. Yet another object of the invention is the provision of a simple and effective delayed opening liquid dispenser that is simple and totally reliable and one that can be supplied at aminimum of cost and used with a minimum of complication.
The nature and substance of the invention can be briefly summarized as comprising a liquid dispenser, including a container'for receiving and storing the liquid to be dispensed. A Water soluble seal is mounted in the dispensing outlet of the container. Suitable separating means are provided to keep the contents of the container from-contacting the soluble seals The separating means are removed ice to activate the dispenser prior to placing the dispenser in an automatic washing machine. The dispenser is then placed in the machine at the beginning of its cycle whereupon its contents are dispensed when the soluble seal is dissolved.
While the specification concludes with claims particularly pointing out and distinctly claiming the subject matter regarded as forming the present invention, it is believed the invention will be better understood from the following description taken in connection with the accompanying drawing in which:
FIGURE 1 is an elevation in cross section showing a preferred embodiment of the invention.
FIGURE 2 is a fragmentary view similar to FIGURE 1 wherein the dispenser is being activated by the removal of the separating member.
FIGURE 3 is a fragmentary elevation in cross section of a modified form of the dispenser.
FIGURE 4 is a view similar to FIGURE 3 wherein the closure cap has been removed and the dispenser activated.
FIGURE 5 is a fragmentary elevation in cross section showing still another embodiment utilizing the present inventive concept.
Referring now to the drawings and particularly FIG- URES 1 and 2 thereof, it will be noted that the dispenser 10 comprises an essentially spherical container 11 preferably having a squared base 11, the latter being provided primarily for stability. The container 11 is preferably molded from any suitable plastic, e.g., polyethylene. The shape of the container 11 is preferably spherical such that the clothes in the washing machine will not be damaged by the presence of the dispenser of the invention.
The upper portion of the container 11 includes a dispensing outlet 13 which is formed inwardly of the outer surface of the container 11. The container 11 is filled with liquid contents L which may be any well known washing additive such as liquid bleach or a fabric conditioner or softener, or any other typical liquid washing machine additive that the user desires to add to the washing machine at a predetermined time in its cycle. Preferably the dispenser 10 is filled with liquid bleach as the preferred time lag (3-5 minutes) from initiation of the washing cycle to dispensing of the bleach is particularly well suited to the dispenser of this invention.
The upper portion of FIGURE 1 illustrates a water soluble 20 seal 14 sealed over the dispensing outlet 13. The water soluble seal may be formed from any suitable material having water solubility as a physical characteristic, although polyvinyl alcohol is preferred since it is readily molded into the desired shape. Polyvinyl alcohol also has the desired strength characteristics to function as a seal in the absence of contact with water. However, soap, detergent, or other water soluble materials may be used for the seal 14 as well. The thickness of the water soluble seal 14 is determined by the time delay desired from the time the dispenser is activated and placed in the washing machine until dispensing is to take place. This will be a function of water temperature, the material of the seal, the thickness of the seal, etc.
Liquids dispensed into automatic washing machines, such as liquid bleach, typically have a water base whereby a water soluble seal would be subject to premature dissolution unless suitable separating means are provided. For this purpose, a separating member 15 is fitted snugly into the dispensing outlet 13, as shown in FIGURE 1. The separating member 15 is preferably injection molded plastic, e.g., polyethylene, with a plurality of circumferential sealing fins 16. The fins 16 snugly engage the bore of the dispensing outlet 12 as illustrated in FIGURE 1.
The dispenser 10 is normally shipped and stored with its several parts in the condition of assembly shown in 3 FIGURE 1. It is easily activated by pushing downwardly on the flexible seal member 14, as illustrated in FIG- URE 2. This causes the separating member 15 to become dislodged from the dispensing outlet 13 to expose the seal 14 to the contents of the container. The dispenser is then placed in the washing machine where contact with water on one side and the dispenser contents on the other side cause the seal 14 to dissolve. Thereupon the contents of the container become admixed with the liquid contents of the washing machine so that the intended function of the washing additive in the dispenser can be carried out. Normally the seal 14 is designed to dissolve in a matter of 3 to minutes in the usual Wash cycle when dispensing a liquid bleach. However, the material and dimensions of the water soluble seal 14 can be so designed and selected that it may be as much as or 15 minutes before the seal is dissolved as may be desired, for example, when adding a liquid fabric softener to the washing machine.
An alternate structure embodying the inventive concept is illustrated in FIGURES 3 and 4. The upper portion of a conventional plastic bottle 16a is illustrated, there being a conventional plastic container closure 17 threaded thereon. An adapter 18 is fitted snugly in the bore 19 of the bottle 16a, and a separating means 20 in the form of a. non-soluble film is placed across the bottom of the adapter 18. The separating means 20 may be a metal foil such as aluminum, a polyethylene film, or any equivalents thereof. An activating member 21 is provided having a conical lower surface 22 and a plurality of openings 23. A dispensing outlet 24 is provided which includes the inner surface of the piercing member 21 and the openings 23. The openings 23 are covered with a water soluble seal 25 of a similar type and of similar characteristics as the seal 14 of the preferred embodiment of FIGURE 1. An outwardly projectingcircumferential rib 26 is provided in the piercing member 21. Normally the rib 26 is seated in a circumferential groove 27 formed in the adapter 18.
In the embodiment of FIGURES 3 and 4, the bottle 16 is filled with the liquid to be dispensed. When the dispenser is to the activated, the cap 17 is first removed. Thereupon the piercing member 21 is pushed downwardly to dislodge the rib '26 from the groove 27 until the parts take the position shown in FIGURE 4. Movement of the piercing member 21 causes the lower conical surface 22 thereof to pierce the separating film 20. This permits access of the contents of the container to the water soluble seal 25. When the container is then placed in the Washing machine, the contents thereof are dispensed at the desired time in the washing cycle after the seal 25 has dissolved.
Another embodiment of the invention incorporating the inventive concept is illustrated in FIGURE 5. Again, the upper portion of a conventional plastic bottle 28 is illustrated. A special closure cap 29 is provided having an inner barrel 30 and a plurality of openings 31 through the inner barrel 30. The inner surface of the barrel 30 provides a dispensing outlet 32. External sealing means are provided. These may take the form of circumferential fins 33 which engage the bore 34 of the bottle 28 to prevent access of the liquid contents thereof to the openings 31. A water soluble seal 35 is secured to the upper portion of the cap 29 at the upper end of the dispensing outlet 32. As in the previous case, the material of the seal 35 is preferably similar or identical to the seal 14 of the dispenser of FIGURE 1.
The embodiment of FIGURE 5 is illustrated in its normal position for shipment and storage wherein the circumferential fins 33 prevent access of the contents of the container 28 to the water soluble seal 35. When it is desired to activate this dispenser, the cap 29 is screwed down to the position illustrated in the phantom lines as shown by the reference numeral 37. This causes the fins 33 to disengage from the bore 34 allowing access of the azasasoe container contents to the openings 31. In this position,
' the seal 35 is accessible to the' c'ontainer' contents and the bottle is placed in the washing machine so that the contents can be dispensed after the soluble film 35 has been dissolved. 1
The several dispensers of the invention also have utility for adding a dry powdered or granular additive, e.g.,' granular bleach,to the washing machine simultaneously with a liquid additive. When used in this way, the dry granular additive is placed in the dispenser between the water soluble seal and the activating means. For example, in the embodiment of FIGURE 1, the dry granular material would be placed between the soluble seal 14 and the separating member 15;" in FIGURE 3, the dry powdered material would be placed above the separating means 20, and, in FIGURE 5 it would go in the inner barrel 30. In all cases, the liquid would be stored in the same way as previously described and the dispenser would be used and activated in the same way.
While particular embodiments of the invention have been illustrated and described, it will be obvious to those skilled in the art that various changes and modifications can be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention and it is intended to cover in the appended claims all such changes and modifications that are within the scope of this invention.
What is claimed asnew is:
1. A liquid dispenser comprising .a container having liquid contents, said container having a dispensing outlet, a water soluble seal mounted across said dispensing outlet, means for separating the contents of said container from said water soluble seal and means for activating the dispenser by removing said separating means to permit access by the contents of the container to said water soluble seal whereby said contents may be dispensed after said seal is dissolved. I
2. A liquid dispenser as claimed in claim 1 wherein said separating means comprises a removable plug fitted snugly in said dispensing outlet, said plug being interposed between the water soluble seal and the container contents, said dispenser being activated by pushing said plug inwardly into the container.
3. A liquid dispenser as claimed in claim 1 wherein said separating means comprises a non-soluble film mounted across the dispensing outlet and means for piercing the non-soluble film to permit the contents of the container to have access to the. water soluble seal.
4. A liquid dispenser as claimed in claim 3 wherein said piercing means is provided with openings and said water soluble seal covers said openings before it is dissolved.
5. A liquid dispenser as claimed in claim 1 wherein said separating means comprises a cap member having an inner barrel forming the dispensing outlet, said water soluble seal being mounted across the bore of said barrel and means for exposing said seal to the contents of said dispenser on movement of said cap.
6. A liquid dispenser as claimed in claim 5 wherein said means for exposing saidseal comprises at least one opening in said barrel and external sealing means on said barrel which normally seal the contents ofthe dispenser from the opening. l
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS T Kaplow 220-54 ROBERT B. REEVES, Primary Examinr. NORMAN L. STACK, JR., Assistant Examiner.
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|U.S. Classification||222/545, 222/54, 137/67, 222/541.2|
|International Classification||D06F39/02, A47L15/44|
|Cooperative Classification||D06F39/024, A47L15/4418|
|European Classification||D06F39/02C, A47L15/44B|