US 3450306 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
June 17, 1969 D. GILL 3,450,306
PILL DISPENSER WITH ROTATING TOP FOR DISCHARGING SUCCESSIVE PILLS Filed Aug. 16, 1967 Sheet of 2 FIG. 5. 72 FIG. 6. 72 24- 74 g I INVENTORY g A mafia BY W 4 M i mkwm go ATTORNEYS. v
June 17, 1969 L. D. GILL 3,450,306
PILL DISPENSER WITH ROTATING TOP FOR DISCHARGING SUCCESSIVE PILLS Filed Aug. 16, 1967 Sheet 2 of 2 FIG. 8.
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ATTORNE Ysj United States Patent US. Cl. 221-71 17 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE This specification discloses a dispenser for pills that are packaged in a strip. A shallow cylindrical box holds a strip wound in a loose spiral. A ridge extending up from the bottom of the box is spaced from the side to form a guideway along which the strip is fed toward a discharge opening. The box has a rotatable cover which is held on the box by a center stud; and there are lugs extending down from the cover into the guideway and with the same spacing from one another as the pills so that the lugs propel the strip by pushing the pills that are in the guideway. The names of days of the week, or other time intervals, marked on the rotatable cover, serve as reminders whether the pill has been taken as intended. The discharge opening has an edge across which the strip can be torn to remove each successive pill. A ratchet prevents reverse movement of the cover. One modification locks to prevent operation by children and the cover pushes down to release the lock.
Summary of the invention This invention is a pill dispenser with provision for informing the user whether pills have been taken for the intended intervals. It will be illustrated and described for a dispenser intended for one pill per day and it has a rotatable element with the days of the week marked on it. Movement of the rotatable element for an angular dis tance equal to the space of the marking for one day dispenses one pill. If pills are to be taken three times a day, then the day space is subdivided into three sections and the dispenser constructed to deliver a pill upon movement of the cover through the angular distance of each of the three sections.
The preferred embodiment of the invention uses pills that are packaged in a strip. This makes practical the use of very simple dispensing mechanism and it also insures that the pills remain sealed and clean. Since the strip is much thicker at each pill, it can be fed forward by pushing the strip at the location of the individual pills. The invention provides a shallow box which is ad vantageously cylindrical in shape, with an outlet at one location and a tearing edge along one side of the outlet for removing successive pills from the strip. The strip is advanced by lugs extending down from a rotatable cover of the box; and there is a guideway in the box for holding at least a portion of the strip in position for the lugs to push the pills toward the discharge outlet.
The cover is retained on the box by a yielding connection that supports the cover at a level which permits the lugs to pass over the tops of the pills so that the cover can be set originally to bring any day marking to the outlet or to any other reference location used for the marking. The cover can be pushed down into operative position which brings lugs of the cover into locations behind the respective pills.
The cover is held against reverse rotation since such rotation would interfere with the timing indication; and in one modification of the invention, provision is made for locking the cover against rotation in either direction when the cover is in a raised position to which it is urged by spring means. This prevents accidental turning while handling the box and also prevents turning of the cover by children. The cover can be held down, against the pressure of the spring means, when it is to be turned.
Other objects, features and advantages of the invention will appear or be pointed out as the description proceeds.
Brief description of the drawing In the drawing, forming a part hereof, in which like reference characters indicate corresponding parts in all the views:
FIGURE 1 is an isometric view showing a pill dispenser made in accordance with this invention;
FIGURE 2 is an isometric View, on a reduced scale, of the pill dispenser shown in FIGURE 1 but with the cover removed;
FIGURE 3 is a sectional view, on an enlarged scale, taken on the line 3-3 of FIGURE 2;
FIGURE 4 is a fragmentary view of a portion of the upper part of the box with the parts in the positions shown in FIGURE 3;
FIGURES 5 and 6 are fragmentary views, similar to FIGURE 3, but showing the parts in other positions; FIGURE 5 being the locking position and FIGURE 6 the rotatable position;
FIGURE 7 is a fragmentary sectional view, on an enlarged scale, taken on the line 7-7 of FIGURE 2;
FIGURE 8 is an isometric view, similar to FIGURE 1, but showing a modified form of the invention;
FIGURE 9 is a fragmentary sectional view taken on the line 99 of FIGURE 8;
FIGURE 10 is a view similar to FIGURE 9 but show ing the parts in different positions;
FIGURE 11 is a sectional view taken on the line 11-11 of FIGURE 10;
FIGURE 12 is an enlarged, fragmentary sectional view showing a modified center construction from that shown in FIGURE 3; and
FIGURES l3 and 14 are views of the structure shown in FIGURE 12, but with the parts in different positions.
Detailed description 07 the invention FIGURE 1 shows a pill dispenser 16 which is of generally cylindrical shape and which includes a box 18 having a bottom 20 and a side wall 22.
The dispenser has a cover 24 with a center stud 26 which extends into a socket 28 projecting upward from the bottom 20. The stud 26 is preferably of one-piece construction with the cover 24; and the socket 28 is preferably of one-piece construction with the bottom 20. This stud-and-socket construction connects the cover 24 with the box 18, in a manner which will be explained in connection with FIGURE 3, and provides a radial bearing on which the cover 24 is rotatable with respect to the box 18.
The cover 24 has downwardly-extending projections 32 at angularly spaced locations around the circumference of the cover. These projections 32 are radially outward from a flange 34 which extends around the entire circumference of the side wall 22 at the upper part of the side wall. There are abutments 36 just below the flange 34 and these abutments 36 have spaces between them of an angular extent slightly greater than the angular extent of the projections 32. There is a lip 40 at the lower end of each of the projections 32. These lips 40 extend into the space between the abutments 36 so as to prevent rotation of the cover 24 with respect to the box 18 unless the cover is pushed down against the tension of spring means, which will be explained in connection with FIG- URES 3-6. When the lips 40 are engaged between the abutments 36, the cover 24 cannot be accidentally turned by children who do not understand that the cover must be depressed to free it from its locked condition. If the dispenser is made without this locking feature, the projections 32, flange 34, lip 40 and abutments 36 are not necessary.
FIGURE 2 shows the interior of the box 18. It contains a pill strip 42 of conventional construction with equally spaced pills 44 confined between inner and outer laminations of the strip; preferably with perforations 45 forming tear lines midway between successive pills; the strip being thicker at each pill location by an amount equal to the thickness of the pills. The pill strip is in the form of a loosely wound spiral around the socket 28, and the forward portion of the pill strip extends into a guideway 46 formed by the side wall 22 and a ridge Sil projecting up from the bottom of the box. The ridge '50 is spaced from the side wall 22 with the spacing narrow enough toward the end of the guideway to maintain the pill strip in position to be advanced by lugs 52 (FIGURE 3) which project downward from the cover 24, these lugs preferably being of one-piece construction with the cover.
The guideway 46 ends at a discharge opening 54. This opening through the wall 22 includes a recess in the bottom of the box and has a sloping surface '56, opposite the end of the guideway 46, for deflecting the strip radially outward to make it easier to grasp with the fingers. The sloping surface 56 extends up far enough to deflect the strip 42 but not far enough to interfere with the passage of the lugs which propel the pills.
The pill dispenser is supplied to the consumer with the cover 24 in the position shown in FIGURE 3. There is a flange 58 at the lower end of the stud 26 in position to co-operate with a shoulder 60 in the socket 28 to prevent the cover 24 from coming off the box. The stud 26 has a split side 62 which permits it to compress for original assembly of the cover with the box.
In the condition shown in FIGURE 3, the lips 40 at the lower ends of the projections 32 rest on the top surface of the flange 34. The lower ends of the lugs 52 are above the tops of the pills 44 so that the cover can be rotated without advancing the pill strip.
Referring again to FIGURE 1, there are markings 66 on the top of the cover 24 indicating days of the week. When the marking for a particular day is brought opposite the outlet 54, then the pill 44 which is dispensed through the opening is the pill which is intended to be taken on that particular day. If there is no pill at the outlet 54, this is an indication that the pill for the indicated day has been taken. Each marking 66 has an angular extent equal to the width of the opening 54 and the length of the strip 42 between the lines of perforations 45 which are located between successive pills. If the dispenser is designed for dispensing more than one pill for each day, then the day markings are sub-divided into the number of pills for one day and the opening 54 and strip length per pill are of an angular extent equal to one sub-division.
When the cover 24 is in its original position, as shown in FIGURE 3, it can be turned to bring the marking for thestarting day into a position where the left-hand end of the marking space is even with the right-hand end of the discharge opening 54. The cover 24 is then pushed down as far as it will go and this causes the projections 32 to flex outward and snap in under the flange 34 and to move downward beyond the abutments 36, as shown in FIGURE 6. This brings the lugs '52 into position to propel the pills 44 so that angular movement of the cover 24 through the distance of the day marking on the cover brings the first pill into the discharge opening 54.
The user of the pill grips the strip 42 and pulls it forward until the next pill 44 strikes against the back of the lug 52, as shown in FIGURE 7. The strip 42 is then pulled out into the dotted line position in contact with an edge 70 which is preferably a sharp edge across which the strip 42 can be easily torn.
The cover 24 is provided with spring means for urging it upward. In the construction illustrated, these spring means consist of springs 72 (FIGURE 3) formed of material displaced from the cover 24 at locations directly above the top of the side wall 22. The box and cover are preferably made of plastic material with enough resilience to make the springs 72 effective for holding the flange 58 against the shoulder 60 when the cover is in its original position, as shown in FIGURE 3, and for holding the lips 40 against the bottom of the flange 34 after the cover 24 has been pushed down to hook the lips 40 under the flange 34.
In order to prevent the cover 24 from being rotated backwards, the springs 72 are also used as pawls in cooperation with ratchet teeth 74 formed around the top edge of the side wall 22.
FIGURE 5 shows the cover 24 in its locked position with the lip 40 located between abutments 36. It will be understood that the angular extent of the abutments 36 and the spaces between them for receiving the lips 40 are correlated with the number of interval markings 66 on the cover so that the cover locks after each pill has been dispensed.
FIGURE 6 shows the cover 24 pushed down so that the lip 40, on each of the projections 32, is below the abutments 36 and the cover can be rotated. It is timed to bring the next day marking 66 into position over the discharge outlet 54. This brings a portion of the strip 42 into position with the next pill 44 in the outlet ready to be removed by tearing the strip as already explained. When the user of the dispenser releases the downward pressure on the cover 24, the springs 72 push the cover up and cause the lips to engage between the abutments 36 thereby locking the cover against rotation.
FIGURE 8 illustrates a modified form of the invention. Corresponding parts are designated by the same reference characters as in FIGS. 1-6, but with a prime appended.
A cover 24' is essentially the same as the cover 24 of FIGS. 1-6 but without the springs 72. The cover 24' has angularly spaced projections 32' with inwardly extending lips 40' at their lower ends. The dispenser is sold with the cover 24 held on the box 18' by a stud 26 in a socket 28 which may be the same as the stud 26 and socket 28 shown in FIGURE 3, but the dimensions may be shorter because the cover 24 does not have to have as much axial movement as the cover 24 since it does not have the locking feature.
As originally sold the cover 24' has its lips 40' on top of a flange 34' at the upper part of a side wall 22 as shown in FIGURE 9. Immediately below the flange 34' there are ratchet teeth 78 extending from the outside surface of the side wall 22', as shown in FIGURES 911.
The ratchet teeth 78 are preferably integral with the flange 34' and the side wall 22'. Their radial extent is somewhat less than that of the flange 34'. After the cover 24' has been rotated to bring the desired day of the week into position over the outlet 54, without advancing the pill strip, the cover 24 is then pushed down from the position shown in FIGURE 9 to that shown in FIG- URE 10. The projections 32 have sufficient resiliency to let the lips 40 spring outward and pass over the flange 34'. When the lips 40 spring in under the flange 34', they contact with the ratchet teeth 78; one lip 40' being shown in contact with the ratchet teeth 78 in FIGURE 11.
The lips 40 serve as pawls in that they engage the ratchet teeth 78 to prevent reverse rotation of the cover. The click of the lips over the teeth 78 also serves to notify a person using the dispenser that it has turned far enough to dispense a pill. The teeth 78 are substantially uniform around the entire circumference of the box and the projections 32 and lips 40' are angularly spaced so as to click over the teeth 78 at substantially the same time.
FIGURE 12 shows a modified construction in which a hollow center stud 86 extends up from a bottom 87 of a box or container. This stud extends into a socket 88 formed in a top or cover 90, and preferably molded as one piece with the cover 90. There is lip 92 at the upper end of the stud '86 extending around the circumference of the stud; but there are angularly spaced slits 94 extending axially in the stud 86 to permit flexing of the side wall of the stud 86 to smaller diameter to permit undercuts of the socket 88 to pass the lip 92 when the stud and rocket are first assembled into the relation shown in FIGURE 12; and when the parts are moved from the positions shown in FIGURE 12 to the positions shown in FIGURE 13.
The socket 88' has a lower inwardly-extending flange 96 forming an undercut which engages under the lip 92 to hold the cover 90 on the box when originally assembled. The cover 90 is held in the elevated position shown in FIGURE 12 by a frusto-conical abutment surface 100 bearing against the rounded upper surface of the lip 92. As in the case of the construction previously described, the cover 90, when in this original elevated position can be rotated to set the indicia marking on the cover with respect to the discharge opening or any other part that is used as the reference in cooperation with the markings on the cover.
When the cover 90 is to be moved angularly for dispensing, the cover is pushed down to cam the abutment surface 90 over the lip 92 and to bring the undercut of an upper flange 100 under the lip 92 as shown in FIG- URE 13. The under side of the lip 92 is curved for part of its horizontal extent to provide a cam surface for squeezing the lip 92 inward to permit the cover 90 to move back into the position shown in FIGURE 12 for resetting, or to cam the lower flange 96 past the lip 92 when removing the cover for reloading the container or box.
In order to let the user have some indication how far to rotate the cover for one dispensing operation, the container has a side wall 102 provided with notches 104 in its upper edge. These notches 104 are spaced by an angular distance equal to the distance that the cover 90 should be turned for a dispensing operation.
There is a lug 106 on the cover 90 in position to engage the notches 104. When turning the cover 90 for dispensing, the user may press the cover down so that the lug 1 06 slides along the top of the wall 102 until the lug 106 drops into the next notch 104. This indicates that the cover has been turned as far as necessary. The cover 90 can have a plurality of lugs 106 for more even support when pressed down on the side wall 102 but if there are a number of lugs 106 they should be spaced so that they all drop into notches 104 at the same time.
What is claimed is:
1. A pill container and dispenser including a generally cylindrical box having a bottom and a side wall with an opening in the side wall for the discharge of a pill from the box, a ridge integral with the bottom of the box and extending upward therefrom and spaced radially inward from the side wall and forming with the bottom and the side wall a stationary guideway in the box along which pills are advanced toward the discharge opening, a cover on the box, means connecting the cover to the box including a bearing on which the cover is rotatable with respect to the box, and lugs integral with the rotatable cover and extending down from the cover into the guideway, the lugs being spaced from one another by a distance sufficient to admit successive pills between successive lugs for advancing individual pills along the guideway as the cover is rotated.
2. The pill dispenser described in claim 1 characterized by time interval markings on the cover for indicating to a user of the pills whether the pill has been taken for each time interval as the marking for that interval reaches a predetermined location with respect to a part of the box on which the cover rotates.
3. The pill dispenser described in claim 2 characterized by the interval markings being the days of the week and the cover having all of the days of the week marked thereon.
4. The pill dispenser described in claim 3 characterized by the cover having all of the days of a plurality of Weeks marked thereon.
5. The pill dispenser described in claim 1 characterized by ratchet means located partly on the cover and partly on a non-rotatable portion of the box for preventing reverse rotation of the cover.
6. The pill dispenser described in claim 5 characterized by the ratchet means including elements connected to the cover and complementary elements on the side wall of the box.
7. The pill dispenser described in claim 1 characterized by a flange extending radially from the upper part of the side wall of the box, and downwardly extending projections connected with the cover and having inwardly extending lips at their lower ends for hooking under the flange to hold the cover on the box.
8. The pill dispenser described in claim 7 characterized by spring means urging the cover upward to hold th lips against the underside of the flange.
9. A pill container and dispenser including a generally cylindrical box having a bottom and a side wall with an opening in the side wall for the discharge of a pill from the box, a guideway in the box and along which pills are advanced toward the discharge opening, a rotatable cover on the box and lugs secured to and extending down from the cover into the guideway, the lugs being spaced from one another by a distance suflicient to admit successive pills between successive lugs for advancing individual pills along the guideway as the cover is rotated, characterized by a flange extending radially from the upper part of the side wall of the box, and downwardly extending projections connected with the cover and having inwardly extending lips at their lower ends for hooking under the flange to hold the cover on the box, spring means urging the cover upward to hold the lips against the underside of the flange, characterized by the projections being at substantially equal angular spacing around the circumference of the box and immediately nected with the box and located between the lips and projections for locking the cover against rotation when the lips are in contact with the underside of the flange, the spring means being yieldable far enough for the cover to move down to a level that locates the lips below the abutments so that the cover is rotatable with respect to the side of the box.
10. The pill dispenser described in claim 9 characterized by the spring means being flexible portions of the cover displaced therefrom at angularly spaced locations around the circumference of the box and immediately above the top of the side wall for contact therewith, and ratchet teeth on top of the side wall across which the flexible portions move and act as pawls for preventing reverse rotation of the cover.
11. The pill dispenser described in claim 9 characterized by a center stud and complementary socket in telescoping relation to one another, one of which is carried by the bottom of the box and the other of which is carried by the cover, the stud and socket having a resilient restricted portion that yieldably holds the cover of the box with the lips of the projections above the flange for rotation of the cover before the cover is pushed down into its locking position.
12. The pill dispenser described in claim 7 characterized by ratchet teeth extending from the side of the box across which the projections move as the cover is rotated, said projections cooperating with the ratchet teeth to serve as pawls to prevent reverse rotation of the cover.
13. The pill dispenser described in claim 12 characterized by the ratchet teeth being located immediately below the flange and having a maximum radial extent somewhat less than the radius of the flnage, and the lips of the projections being the parts thereof which contact with the ratchet teeth as the cover is rotated.
14. The pill dispenser described in claim 13 characterized by the flange and ratchet teeth being of onepiece construction with the side and bottom of the box.
-15. The pill dispenser described in claim 1 characterized by notches and at least one projection forming complementary engaging surfaces on the cover and side wall, the recesses having angular spacing corresponding to the angular movement of the cover for one'dispensing operation whereby engagement of the projection in a notch signals completion of a dispensing movement.
16. The pill dispenser described in claim 15 characterized by the notches being in the upper edge of the side wall and the projection being on the cover immediately above the wall, and a bearing on which the cover rotates and on which the cover has axial movement sufficient to lower the projection into a notch when the projection moving along the top of the side wall encounters a notch.
17. A dispensing container for pills including a body portion and a cover portion enclosing a chamber for holding a supply of pills, the container having an opening through which a pill can be dispensed therefrom, the cover being rotatable on the body portion of the container, a plurality of indicia on the cover for indicating when the next pill is to be dispensed, abutments on the body portion of the container, and complementary surfaces on the cover of a size to engage between the abutments for preventing rotation of the cover and unauthorized changing of the positions of the indicia, spring means urging the cover upward away from the body portion to maintain the complementary surfaces between the abutments, said cover being axially movable downward against the spring means and within a limited range with respect to the body portion of the container and far enough to shift said complementary surfaces beyond and out of contact with the abutments whereby the cover portion is free to rotate on the body portion.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,943,730 7/1960 Tregilgas 20642 3,085,679 4/1963 Burrell 20642 3,143,207 8/1964 Wagner 20642 FOREIGN PATENTS 754,161 8/1956 Great Britain.
STANLEY H. TOLLBERG, Primary Examiner.
US. Cl. X.R. 20642 UNITED STATES PATENT OFFICE CERTIFICATE OF CORRECTION Patent No. 3,450,306 June 17, 196
Lester D. Gill It is certified that error appears in the above identified patent and that said Letters Patent are hereby corrected as shown below:
Column 6, lines 42 and 43, "around the circumference of the box and immediately nected with the box and located between the lips and" should reac. around the circumference of the box, abutments connected with the box and located between the lips and Signed and sealed this 14th day of April 1970.
WILLIAM E. SCHUYLER, JR.
Commissioner of Patents Edward M. Fletcher, Jr.