US 3404814 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Oct. 8, 1968 w. WAKEMAN ACTUATOR FOR AEROSOL VALVE s Sheets-Sheeti Filed June 27, 1967 FiG. 3'
ALFRED W. WAKEMAN FIG. 4
ATTORNEYS Oct. 8, 1968 A w, WAKEMAN' 3,404,814
ACTUATOR FOR AEROSOL VALVE Filed June 27, 1967 5 Sheets-Sheet 2 ATTORNEY.
Oct. 8, 1968 I A,w. WAKEMAN 3,404,814
ACTUATOR FOR AEROSOL VALVE Filed June 27, 1967 4 5 Sheets-Sheet 5 INVENTOR. ALRED w. WAK MAN V ATTORNEY United States Patent 3,404,814 ACTUATOR FOR AEROSOL VALVE Alfred W. Wakeman, Durham, Conn., assignor to The Risdon Manufacturing Company, Naugatuck, Conn., a corporation of Connecticut Filed June 27, 1967, Ser. No. 649,169 9 Claims. ((21. 222-40213 ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE The present invention relates to fluid dispensing devices, and more particularly to valve actuators for aerosol containers to facilitate operation of the valve means conventionally used in such containers. In addition the actuators serve the usual function of orienting'the direction of the discharge of fluid product from such containers and of helping to control the form or character in which the product is dispensed.
Many combinations of valve actuating devices are known for aerosol containers, including many which incorporate closure caps for the valved end of the container in combination with a dispensing button or actuator. In general, these actuators are coupled to a protruding stem of a valve mounted in the container and are adapted to be depressed by the finger of a user in order to ope-rate the associated valve and thereby allow release of product from the container. The actuators, whether used with or without a closure cap, are commonly formed of molded plastic and not only provide a more esthetic appearance to the container but also serve to protect the valved end from accumulation of dirt and fluid product drip at the close of a dispensing operation. Many of the known devices are designed to help prevent inadvertent or accidental operation of the valve upon endwise abutment of the container with another object, as in packing and shipping the filled containers. The known devices are often formed as separate cap and actuator members, while other forms provide a one-piece cap and actuator construction. The latter is usually prefer-red because of simplification in assembling the members to the aerosol container.
The prior closure cap and actuator combinations, whether of single or multiple member construction, are almost all designed to produce actuation of the valve of the aerosol container by finger pressure applied in a direction generally axially of the container and valve assembly on a suitably provided exposed upper surface of the actuating member. While such arrangemnet is entirely satisfactory in many applications, there are certain well-known disadvantages to it. These include, for example, bending or tilting the stem of a typical aerosol valve intended to be actuated by straight axial depression of the valve stem. This is occasioned Where the finger pressure applied to the actuator is off-center from the axis of the stem. In many cases it is not possible to center the pressure area directly on the axis of the stem and some tilting is inevitable. Valve leakage generally results.
It is accordingly an important object of this invention to provide an actuator for a typical axially operated aerosol valve in which the forces acting on the stem to depress it in opening the valve more assuredly confine movement of the stem to an axial direction and thus avoid bending or tilting and consequent damage to the valve itself.
It is another objective of the invention to provide an actuator, either with or without an associated closure cap for the valved end of the container, wherein the force that the user must apply to open the valve is reduced to a minimum through a leverage system affording substantial mechanical advantage in effecting axial displacement of the valve stem.
It is a still further object of the present invention to provide a type of valve actuator for fluid dispensing containers which incorporate a valve operated by axial movement of a discharge stem, wherein pressure applied by the user in squeezing the actuator between a thumb and forefinger transverse to the axis of the package is converted to a force applied axially of the valve stem. This arrangement has the advantage of greater protection against inadvertent actuation of the valve during normal shipping or storage handling operations. Likewise it affords easier and more convenient operation of the valve by the user through a simple squeezing action imparted by the thumb and forefinger while gripping the container in the same hand, thereby making one-hand operation of the dispensing package easier and more accurate of control.
These and other objects and advantages of the invention are illustrated with reference to the specific embodiments of the novel concept shown in the accompanying drawings and described in detail hereinafter. It is of course understood that such illustrations are by way of example only and that substantial modifications in many of their details will be apparent to those skilled in this art from the description that follows. It is accordingly not intended that the invention be limited to these examples.
In the drawings,
FIG. 1 is a perspective view showing the valved end of a typical aerosol container on which a combined closure and actuating device of the present invention is mounted;
FIG. 2 is a sectional view in side elevation of the device taken on vertical axial plane 2-2 in FIG. 1, but omitting the locking member appearing in the illustration of FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is a similar view in cross section but taken along a vertical axial plane perpendicular to plane 2-2 of FIG. 1;
FIG. 4 is a cross sectional view similar to that of FIG. 2 but showing the actuator operated to depress the valve stem and open the valve of the container;
FIG. 5 is a top plan view of the device seen in FIG. 1, again omitting the locking member;
FIG. 6 is a cross sectional view similar to FIG. 2 but with the locking member in position to prevent actuation of the device;
FIG. 7 is a plan view of a locking device of the type seen in FIG. 1;
FIG. 8 is a cross sectional view, similar to FIG. 2, showing a different type of actuator locking member;
FIGS. 9, 10 and 11 are perspective views of other modifications of actuator assemblies incorporating the invention.
The upper portion of a typical aerosol container 20 is shown in FIG. 1. This is provided with an upper domed end 22 in which a standard valve assembly 24 is secured in conventional manner in the aperture of the dome, as seen best in FIGS. 2 through 4. Valve 24 incorporates a projecting spring biased tubular stem 26 by which the valve is adapted to be opened upon axially depressing the stem and through which fluid product within the container is released.
, In theembodiment illustrated in FIGS. 1 through 5, aerosol container is provided at its valved end with a combined closure cap and valve actuator assembly 30. This assembly comprises a nozzle body 32, preferably of molded plastic, which is formed in its underface with a socket 34 for the reception of the projecting end of valve stem 26. Nozzle 32 has a discharge orifice 36 communicating through suitable internal passageways with the interior of socket 34. Upon axially depressing nozzle 32 against the spring bias of the stem 26, the latter opens valve 24 and product is dispensed through the discharge orifice.
Formed integrally with nozzle body 32 are two leg members 38, 38, positioned on diametrically opposite sides of nozzle. Each leg at its outer free extremity is formed with a relatively stiff rib 40 of arcuate shape which conforms to and grips under the rim 42 formed in joining the valve assembly 24 to the domed cap 22 of the container. The gripping engagement is firm to secure the actuator assembly 30 to the container.
Each of legs 38 is bent upwardly in its intermediate portion to form a knee 44 disposed laterally of nozzle 32. Each leg also preferably has a section of reduced thickness both at knee joint 44 and junction 46 with the nozzle body to provide areas of maximum flexibility in the leg members.
The legs are also formed to provide finger gripping flats or areas 48 adjacent each knee 44, and in the illustrated example these flats project axially upward slightly above the top of the knees to form inwardly facing abutments 50 flanking the knees and nOZZle body.
In the preferred arrangement shown in FIG. 1, the rimgripping rib 40 at the outer extremities of legs 38 is a continuous ring which encircles rim 42 of the container, and hemi-fnlstoconical skirts are formed integrally with ring 40, separate from but complementary to legs 38. Together these skirts with the nozzle body and legs coact in forming a closure cap for the valved end of container 20. Skirts 52 are separated by transversely extending slots 54, as seen best in FIG. 5, from the legs and also the nozzle body to allow free movement of these members intermediate the skirts. All of the members, however, are joined by ring 40 and are thus adapted to be molded as an integral unit.
In FIGS. 2 and 3, valve 24 and its actuator 30 are shown in the normal, non-operated position in which valve stem 26 is at its maximum extended position and the associated valve 24 is closed to prevent release of fluid product from the container. Actuator 30 is operated to effect axial depression of the valve stem 26, to the position shown in FIG. 4 and thus open valve 24, by applying finger pressure, as by squeezing legs 38 together between a thumb and forefinger of a user, using the finger areas 48 on legs 38 to facilitate this. The folded or bent legs thus impart a toggle action of considerable force to the nozzle body 32 to cause it to move downward and depress the valve stem in the manner indicated, whereupon fluid product in the container is released for discharge through the nozzle. Upon release of the finger pressure on the actuator, the nozzle and its legs are returned to normal position by the conventional spring bias incorporated in valve assembly 24 acting through stem 26.
For shipping or storage purposes it will frequently be desirable to provide a temporary retainer or lock member to positively prevent actuation of the valve of a container. This is readily accomplished in the devices of this invention by providing a yoke or strut such as those shown in FIGS. 7 and 8 of the drawings. In FIG. 7, yoke comprises a flat plate-like member having a central circular opening 62 adapted to slip over the end of nozzle 32 with a light frictional fit permitting projecting arms 64 to be engaged between abutments 50 on legs 38. In the alternate arrangement shown in FIG. 8, locking member 70 comprises a flanged cup which completely covers nozzle 32 and is engaged between the abutments 4 50 of legs 38. In either arrangement it is apparent that the locking member positively prevents the legs from being squeezed together to impart the aforesaid toggle action and operation of the valve.
Various modifications of the foregoing basic actuator are shown in FIGS. 9, 10 and 11. Each incorporates a nozzle body to which is integrally attached leg members or their equivalent to form a toggle combination. In FIG. 9, nozzle 132 is connected by integrally formed struts 154 to wing members 138. These wing members are provided at their free ends with arcuate rimgripping ribs 140, and in theirupper portions (corresponding to the area of knees 44 of the previous embodiment) with finger areas by which to squeeze the wings together in order to operate the toggle.
The illustration in FIG. 10 is essentially the same as that of FIG. 9 but incorporates a spout 232 whose discharge is directed horizontally rather than vertically.
In FIG. 11, the arrangement is again essentially the same as that of FIG. 9 except that the wings 338 are hemi-frustoconical in form to serve both as operating legs for actuating the nozzle body 332 and also as closure means for closing the valved end of the container.
What is claimed is:
1. A valve actuator for an aerosol container comprising a molded plastic nozzle body having a socket let into an under face for reception therein of the stem of an aerosol valve; a discharge orifice in said nozzle body and a passage communicating said orifice with said socket; a pair of leg members each joined to said nozzle body and projecting therefrom on opposite sides thereof; gripping means formed at the outer free extremities of said legs for engagement with a rim of an aerosol container; each of said legs being bent upwardly in its intermediate portion to form a knee, said legs having areas of maximum flexibility at the knee joints and .at the junctions with said nozzle body and forming a toggle therewith; and finger gripping areas formed on said knees to permit them to be squeezed together toward said nozzle body causing said body to be depressed axially of the stem-receiving socket by toggle action of said legs.
2. A valve actuator as defined in claim 1, wherein said nozzle body and legs are molded integrally of stiff but flexible plastic.
3. A valve actuator as defined in claim 1, wherein said gripping means for engaging the rim of an aerosol container comprises a ring.
4. A valve actuator as defined in claim 3, which further includes skirt portions on said ring complementing said leg members and nozzle body but separated therefrom to permit independent movement of said nozzle and leg members; said skirt portions, nozzle body and leg members jointly serving as a closure for the valved end of an aerosol container.
5. A valve actuator as defined in claim 4, wherein said members are all molded integrally of stiff but flexible plastic.
6. A valve actuator as defined in claim 1, wherein said finger gripping areas form substantially axially disposed abutments formed at said knee joints projecting slightly above said joints.
7. A valve actuator as defined in claim 6, which further includes temporary locking means to prevent said knees from being squeezed together, said locking means comprising a separate member of substantial rigidity spanning the nozzle body and removably engageable between said projecting abutments.
8. A valve actuator as defined in claim 1, which further includes inwardly facing abutments formed on said legs adjacent said knees, and temporary locking means comprising a separate member of substantial rigidity spanning the nozzle body and removably engageable between said inwardly facing abutments.
9. A valve actuator as defined in claim 1, wherein said leg members are of generally hemi-frustoconical config- 5 6 uration substantially surrounding said nozzle body later- 3,244,332 4/1966 Rogers 222213 ally thereof. 3,323,690 6/1967 Monahon ZZZ-402.13
References (vllted FOREIGN PATENTS UNITED STATES PATENTS 5 595,557 7/1959 Italy. 3,139,223 6/1964 Kruck 222--402.13 3,141,580 7/ 1964 Rogers 222-213 SAMUEL F. COLEMAN, Primary Examiner.