US 3409011 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
NOV. 5, 1968 MITTAG 3,409,011
SANITARY TAMPON APPLICATOR Filed Dec. 27, 1965 INVENTOR HEINZ MI'ITAG United States Patent 3,409,011 SANITARY TAMPON APPLICATOR Heinz Mittag, Dusseldorf, Germany, assignor to Dr. Carl Hahn KG., Dusseldorf, Germany Filed Dec. 27, 1965, Ser. No. 516,229 Claims priority, application Netherlands, Dec. 31, 1964, 6415304 9 Claims. (Cl. 128-263) ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE A tampon applicator comprising a housing for the tampon and means, operatively associated with said housing, adapted to eject the tampon therefrom; wherein said housing has a larger internal diameter at the end thereof corresponding to the insertion end of the tampon and a smaller internal diameter at the end thereof corresponding to the withdrawal end thereof.
This invention relates to applicators for sanitary tampons. More particularly this invention relates to applicators for substantially cylindrical sanitary tampons consisting of an applicator sheath containing .a tampon-ejecting element displaceable within the sheath.
Sanitary tampon applicators for substantially cylindrical tampons composed of an applicator sheath containing a tampon-ejecting element displaceab'lewithin the sheath where the ejecting element extends out from the rear end of the applicator sheath by an amount approximately equal to the length of the tampon, which at its forward end lying within the sheath presses against the end of the tampon which is provided with the withdrawal thread, the outer surface of the tampon being substantially surrounded by said sheath are known.
These known tampon applicators have the disadvantage that insertion of the tampon for use is made difiicult when the tampon has become expanded as for instance due to climatic influences.
An object of the invention is to provide an improved applicator of this kind, whereby the tampon may be easily inserted even when, prior to its use it has been unduly expanded in the applicator sheath, by climatic influences.
Other objects will appear hereinafter.
These objects are accomplished by the present invention wherein the applicator for a substantially cylindrical tampon consists of an applicator sheath containing a tampon-ejecting element displaceable within the sheath, the ejecting element extending out from the rear end of the applicator sheath by an amount approximately equal to the length of the tampon, the forward end of the ejecting element lying within the sheath pressing against the end of the tampon which is provided with a withdrawal thread, the outer surface of the tampon being substantially surrounded by the sheath, said applicator sheath having at its ejection end a larger internal cross-section than its rear end surrounding the tampon. As a result of providing that the injection end of the applicator sheath have a larger internal cross-section than the end thereof surrounding the tampon, only a short push of the ejecting element is required in order to overcome the force required to hold the tampon in the sheath and to introduce the tampon into the area of the applicator sheath lying in the ejecting direction, the sheath serving substantially short ejecting motion, following which the tampon is ejected from the applicator sheath substantially without any frictional resistance.
The cone angle of the applicator sheath (internal) at its ejection end amounts to about 0 to 10 degrees and preferably 0.4 to 6 degrees.
According to another feature of the invention, it has been found to be advantageous to dimension the applicator sheath so that only the guiding portion of the applicator sheath adjacent to the ejection end thereof is made conical for the tampon. This makes it possible to shape the rear portion of the applicator sheath, which surrounds the tampon, predominantly for the purpose of retaining the tampon and guiding the ejecting element.
In those instances where it is expected that radial expansion of the tampon will only be slight, it is sufficient to construct the guiding part of the applicator sheath in cylindrical form. In this case, when the tampon is ejected, the frictional resistance will be approximately the same over the whole length of the guiding part, but it will be sharply reduced in view of the larger inside diameter of the guiding part in relation to the cross-section of the rear portion of the applicator sheath.
If the applicator sheath is provided With either of the guiding parts described above, i.e., conical or cylindrical, it is desirable, according to another feature of the invention, that the rear portion of the applicator sheath surrounding the outer surface of the withdrawal end of the tampon and also the front end of the ejecting element, be constructed so as to be cylindrical in form.
In a further extension of the invention, it has been found desirable that at least the rear portion of the applicator sheath be dimensioned so that it exhibits a noncircular cross-section and then in such a manner that only sections of the inner wall distributed over the periphery shall abut, i.e., be in contact with the outer surface of the withdrawal end of the tampon. This produces, on the one hand, a relatively high surface pressure in the areas of contact between the tampon and the inner wall of the rear portion of the applicator sheath and on the other hand, the possibility of resilient adaptation of the cylindrical rear portion to the expanding cylindrical periphery of the tampon, in the event the tampon has undergone expansion under the action of climatic conditions. The peripheral sections of the rear portion of the applicator sheath in abutting contact with the withdrawal end of the tampon are, indeed, enlarged thereby, yet the pressure required to eject the tampon is maintained within such limits that the user is capable of easily ejecting the tampon, even under extreme conditions. This design of applicator is, of course, especially recommended for tropical areas.
In view of the short length by which the tampon withdrawal end is held in the applicator sheath and thereby also that the ejecting element is also inserted into the rear portion of the applicator sheath over a relatively short length thereof, provision has to be made to insure against axial displacement of the ejecting element up to a specific pressure capable of being exerted by the hand. According to one embodiment of the invention, the necessary security against axial displacement of the ejecting element is provided by spot-gluing the ejecting element to the inner wall of the rear portion of the applicator sheath. In accordance with another embodiment of the invention, a further means of preventing axial displace ment is provided which consists in a positive connection between the ejecting element and the rear portion of the applicator sheath. This avoids loss of said ejecting element prior to use. Further, a certain retention of the tampon at its withdrawal end, in relation to the ejecting element, is obtained in that any unintentional pushing of the tampon back into the applicator sheath by objects engaging in the ejection end of the applicator is prevented.
In still a further extension of the invention, it has been found desirable that the ejecting element be provided atits front end, directly opposing the withdrawal end of the tampon, with an inwardly flanged edge, so that its ejecting surface, abutting against the tampon withdrawal end, is enlarged. This prevents the ejecting element from pressing into the rear end of the tampon and remaining lodged therein when said tampon is ejected. Such retention of the ejecting element in the tampon could result in the tampon being pulled out again, after having been inserted, when the applicator is withdrawn.
According to yet another feature of the invention, the wall of the applicator sheath is made airand water-tight, at least in the region of its rear portion. This counteracts the tendency of the tampon to expand under the influence of high atmospheric humidity.
Further in accordance with the instant invention, use of the applicator is made easier by providing that at least the inner wall of the rear portion of the applicator sheath has a layer of material which reduces frictional resistance in relation to the tampon.
The applicator sheath and/or the ejecting element as used in accordance with the invention may be made of paper or of plastic.
The sanitary tampon applicator of the invention will now be described in more detail, with reference to the accompanying drawing, wherein:
FIG. 1 shows an applicator with tampon in longitudinal section in which the inner wall of the applicator sheath is made conical over its entire length;
FIG. 2 shows another embodiment of the applicator in longitudinal section, having a conical guiding part and a cylindrical rear part of the applicator sheath;
FIG. 3 shows another embodiment of the applicator in longitudinal section having a cylindrical applicator sheath of two different diameters; and
FIG. 4 is a cross-section through another embodiment of an applicator of the invention along the line IVIV in FIG. 2.
The drawings illustrate an applicator for an approximately cylindrical sanitary tampon having a length of 36 to 60 mm., preferably 40 to 50 mm., and most preferably 50 mm., and a diameter of about to 20 mm. and preferably 13 to 19 mm., consisting of an applicator sheath which is elastically-plastically deformable, having a length of 60 to 80 mm. and preferably 70 mm., and contains an ejecting element for the tampon which is displaceable in said sheath, and which has a length of 67 to 85 mm., and preferably 75 mm. The rear end of said ejecting element projects from the rear end of the applicator sheath by an amount corresponding approximately to the length of the tampon, while its front end, located within said sheath, lies in abutting contact with the end of the tampon which is provided with the withdrawal thread. The outer surface of said tampon is substantially surrounded by said sheath. According to the invention, the ejection end of the applicator sheath has a larger internal cross-section than its rear portion' which surrounds the tampon.
In the case where the applicator sheath is employed with a cylindrical tampon having a diameter of about 13 mm., the inner diameter of the applicator sheath amounts to from 14.2 to 14.6 mm. :0.3 mm. When the tampon used has a diameter of about 15 mm., the inner diameter of the applicator sheath which encloses said tampon amounts to from 16.4 to 16.8 mm. i0.3 mm.
When the tampon used has a diameter of 17 mm., the inner diameter of the applicator sheath amounts to from 18.6 to 19.0 mm. 0.5 mm.
Referring to FIG. 1, the tampon 1 is surrounded by an applicator sheath 2, the inner wall of which expands conically over its whole length, from its rear end 2a to its ejection end 2c, the diameter of the rear end of said applicator sheath being so dimensioned that at least the withdrawal end 1a of said tampon which is provided with a withdrawal thread 3 is held in said applicator sheath, and a sleeve-like ejecting element 4 is securely guided therein. The ejecting element may be secured against inadvertent axial displacement by spot-gluing to the ejecting sleeve. When the tampon is to be inserted for use, only a short axial movement in the direction of insertion is required to free said tampon from the radial pressure at the inner wall of the applicator sheath, and it may therefore be inserted substantially without any friction. Depending upon the cone angle of the applicator sheath, the frictional resistance which has first to be overcome when the tampon is loosened by the component of force acting in the direction of ejection, and which results from the radial pressure of the tampon against the conical inner wall of the applicator sheath is reduced.
The ejecting end of applicator sheath 2 is preferably rounded at 20 to facilitate insertion of said applicator sheath. While the applicator sheath in FIG. 1 also has a conically-shaped exterior, it is obviously also possible to make the external surface of said applicator sheath, for instance, cylindrical, depending upon the cone angle selected or upon other requirements.
In the applicator shown in FIG. 2, the applicator sheath 5 exhibits a substantially cylindrical rear portion 5a, while only the front guiding part 5b of applicator sheath 5 is expanded conically for the tampon towards its ejecting end. Here again, the ejection end is rounded at 50. The action of said applicator sheath in ejecting the tampon is similar to that in FIG. 1, since after a short axial movement of the tampon, the tampon comes away from the inner wall of the applicator sheath and slides out of the applicator sheath, through the guiding part thereof substantially without any frictional resistance.
In the construction of FIG. 2, security against inadvertent axial displacement of ejecting element 6 in the rear portion 5a of the applicator sheath is obtained by positive connection between ejecting element 6 and rear portion 5a, effected by a radial spot-elevation 5d of the inner wall of rear portion 5a associated with ejecting element 6, and a similarly shaped recess 6a in the front end of ejecting element 6. If necessary, spot-gluing of the ejecting element to the inner wall of the applicator sheath may obviously also be provided in this case as in the embodiment shown in FIG. 1, which may easily be released by the exertion of light finger pressure.
Referring to FIG. 3, the rear portion 7a of the applicator sheath 7 in abutting contact with the outer surface of withdrawal end 1a of tampon 1 is made cylindrical. The inner wall of the guiding part 7b of said applicator sheath 7, extending from rear portion 7a towards the ejection end, is made circular and is larger in diameter than the stepped rear portion 7a. Thus, as soon as the tampon reaches expanded cylindrical guiding part 7b, as a result of the axial movement of the ejecting element 8 also guided in rear portion 7a, frictional resistance is suddenly reduced. The reduction in friction is not quite as great as in the embodiments shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, but more accurate axial guidance of the tampon is assured. Here again, the ejection end is rounded at 70. Ejecting element 8 according to FIG. 3 is provided at its front end facing the withdrawal end 1a of tampon 1, with an inwardly flanged edge at 8a which enlarges the ejecting surface lying against the tampon withdrawal end, and which is so constructed that the front end of the ejecting element no longer exhibits any sharp edges which could be pressed into withdrawal end 1a when the tampon is pushed out.
According to FIG. 4, rear portion 9a of an applicator sheath exhibits a non-circular, namely triangular, crosssection, so that only three sections 9b, 9c, 9d, distributed over the periphery of the rear portion of the applicator sheath, contact the outer surface of the tampon withdrawal end. It is to be understood that the cross-section of said rear portion 9a, deviating from the design illustrated, could also be oval or in a form of a square, in such a manner that only two or even four generatrices of the inner surface of rear portion 9a of the applicator sheath come into contact with the periphery of the tampon. Thus, the elastic-plastic defonmability of the material of the applicator sheath facilitates adaptation of the rear portion 9a to a possibly increasing cross-section of the tampon brought about by special climatic conditions. In this case the tampon expands, to a certain extent, into the entire cross-section of the rear portion of the applicator, in such a manner that the latter gradually assumes a substantially circular cross-section. For this purpose, the use of ejecting elements pressing radially against the inner wall of the rear portion of the applicator sheath is recommended under certain circumstances. To this end, theejecting elements may be provided with one or more longitudinal grooves, so that they press against the inner wall of the rear portion of the applicator sheath with a certain resilient, radial pre-tension.
In each of the embodiments described, it is advisable to make the wall of the applicator sheath airand waterimpermeable. Where material such as, for example, paper is used which is per se permeable to air and water, this airand water-impermeability may be accomplished by suitable impregnation of the paper material. Wax-like materials, silicon, plastics and mixtures of plastics and silicon are particularly suitable for this purpose. It is of advantage to use a material which simultaneously reduces frictional resistance in relation to the tampon. The applicator sheath and/or the ejecting element may, of course, also be constructed entirely of plastic.
When the applicator sheath is made of paper, the same has a wall thickness of 0.25 to 0.5 mm., and preferably 0.35 mm. The inner ejecting element, when constructed of paper, has a wall thickness of 0.25 to 0.5 mm., and preferably a wall thickness of about 0.35 mm.
In the case of a plastic construction, the applicator sheath and the ejecting element each has a wall thickness of about 0.3 to 1 mm., and preferably 1 mm.
Preferably the applicator sheath is constructed so as to have a uniform wall thickness throughout, i.e., the inner wall is made so as to lie parallel with the outer wall along the entire length of the applicator sheath.
The applicator sheath as herein described is preferably used with tampons prepared in the known manner from cellulose, cotton, wool, and the like, as well as mixtures thereof, having a density of 0.4 to 0.3 g. per cm. and preferably a density of 0.35 g. per cm. of tampon material.
1. An applicator for the insertion of menstruation tampons comprising a housing adapted to hold said tampon which housing has insertion and withdrawal ends respectively corresponding to the insertion and withdrawal ends of said tampon; and ejection means operatively associated with the withdrawal end of said housing and said tampon adapted to force said tampon out of said housing; wherein the inside diameter of the withdrawal end of said housing at least partially corresponds to the outside diameter of said tampon, and wherein the inside diameter of at least the insertion end portion of said housing is longer than the inside diameter of the withdrawal end thereof.
2. Applicator claimed in claim 1 wherein said housing is of substantially flexible material.
3. Applicator claimed in claim 1 wherein said tampon is substantially circular cylindrical in shape and wherein the inside diameter of said housing, for a substantial portion of its length from the insertion end toward the withdrawal end thereof, is larger than the outside diameter of said tampon.
4. Applicator as claimed in claim 1 wherein said housing has a substantially conical inside surface for a substantial portion of its length.
5. Applicator as claimed in claim 3 wherein said conical surface flows continuously from the withdrawal end to the insertion end of said housing.
6. Applicator as claimed in claim 1 wherein said housing is substantially circular in cross-section.
7. Applicator as claimed in claim 1 wherein said housing comprises at least two substantially circular cylinders of increasing inside diameter from the withdrawal to the insertion end thereof.
8. Applicator as claimed in claim 1 wherein the withdrawal end inside surface thereof is substantially noncircular and contacts said tampon only on portions of the periphery thereof.
9. Applicator as claimed in claim 7 wherein said contacts are substantially symmetrically disposed about the periphery of said tampon withdrawal end.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,861,003 5/1932 Foster 128- 517 2,854,978 10/1958 Millmanetal. 3,032,036 5/1962 Rader et al. 128- 263 3,042,042 7/1962 Galik 128-263 3,124,134 3/1964 Gardner 128-263 3,148,680 9/1964 Roberts et al. 128263 3,042,040 7/1962 Galik 128 263 FOREIGN PATENTS 945,947 7/1956 Germany.
ADELE M. EAGER, Primary Examiner.