US 3454194 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
- July l8, 1969 s. s. BECKER A SAFETY TABLET DISPENSER Sheet Filed March 25. 1968 dex/I l l INVEN-ron SIDNEY 5.35615/52 BY f-lu, bmj-gu.,
ATTORNEYS SAFETY TABLET DI SPENSER .Filed March 25. 1968 sheet Z of 2f f-1 jaa,
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INVENTQR' ATTORNEYS United States Patent O Int. Cl. B65l1 5 28 U.S. Cl. 221-71 10 Claims ABSTRACT F THE DISCLOSURE A safety tablet dispenser which includes a container with a hole in a slot which communicates the interior of the container with the exterior. The rotatable shaft is shiftably mounted within the container and has an exterior end portion which extends through the hole to the outside of the container. A continuous wound tape is positioned on the shaft wtihin the container and has a multiplicity of tablets intermittently adhered to the tape so that when the shaft is rotated, the tape will unwind and extend through the slot where a portion of the tape may be broken oif and a tablet removed from the tape for use. There are also locking and unlocking means shiftably on the dispenser which cooperates to prevent dispensing of the tablets when in one position and permits dispensing of the tablets when in another position.
Background of the invention It is well known that medicinal pills or tablets when swallowed in excessive numbers can be extremely harmful. This is particularly true with respect to small children who often gain access to pill or tablet containers. Before they are discovered or can be stopped, they often swallow many pills or tablets and cause themselves serious injury or even death.
Therefore, it would be extremely valuable to provide a container for the tablets which enable them to be easily and freely removed while still rendering it extremely difficult for an innocent, but curious child to gain access to the interior of the container and accidentally swallow a large number of the tablets contained Within. The container must still be easy for an adult to operate in order to permit quick and eicient access to the pills should be desire to use one 0r a number of them. Furthermore, the container must be such that it can be easily reloaded when it has been emptied of tablets so that the container or dispenser may be reused at will thereby negating the necessity of a disposable dispenser.
A further advantageous feature which would be lan improvement to the tablet dispensing art would be an indicating means on the dispensing mechanism which permits the operator to quickly and el'liciently dispense a predetermined number of tablets for a particular use or need. However, once again, the dispenser would have to be designed so that it would be difficult for a young child to operate and dispense a multiplicity of tablets which he could swallow and cause serious harm to himself.
Naturally, a dispenser device for medicinal tablets is also an advantage since it is obviously easier to merely dispense a number of tablets into your hand for immediate use by the mere turning of a knob rather than having to open a box or bottle and then count out the specific number of tablets you desired. The latter is a much more time consuming and tedious process.
Summary of the invention It is the primary objective of this invention to alleviate the above-mentioned probelms by providing |a safety tablet dispenser which renders it diflicult for small children to obtain access to dangerous pills or tablets, pro- 3,454,194- Patented July 8, 1969 "lee vides a dispenser in which indicating means are provided to enable the operator to quickly and efficiently dispense a predetermined number of tablets, and provides a `dispenser which presents the tablets in adherence to a continuous tape so that the desired number may be obtained by merely ripping off a piece of tape of the desired length and removing each individual tablet from the tape for use. The dispenser can be economically manufactured, may efficiently reloaded and used yand provides a safety locking means to prevent small children from gaining access to the tablets held within the container.
A safety tablet dispenser is provided which includes a closed container with the exception of a hole and a slot which communicate the interior of the container with the exterior. A rotatable shaft is shiftably mounted within the container and has an exterior end portion which extends through the hole outside of the container. The shaft is adapted to receive within the container a continuous wound tape having a multiplicity of tablets intermittently removably adhered to the tape so that when the shaft is rotated the tape will unwind and will extend through the slot thus dispensing the tablets. There are also locking and unlocking means shiftably on the container which cooperates to prevent dispensing of the tablets when in in one position and permits dispensing of the tablets when in another position.
Indicating means may also be mounted on the interior portion of the shaft and of the container so that when the tape is moved to a dispensing position, the indicating means will cooperate in indica-ting when a predetermined number of tablets have been dispensed.
The indicating means may include a cam associated with the tape and mounted on the shaft so as to rotate when the shaft and tape rotate. A cam follower is mounted on the interior of the container and positioned so that when the shaft is shifted from one position to another position the ratchet and pawl will disengage and the cam and cam follower will engage. The cam surface is a configuration which provides an indexing means for indicating predetermined lengths of tape as the tape is 11nwound and, consequently, determines predetermined num- -bers of tablets as they are being dispensed.
With these and other objects in mind, reference is had to theattached drawings of the invention.
Brief description of the drawings In the drawings:
FIG. l is a perspective view of a safety tablet dispenser of the invention with a portion of tape extending through the slot thereof;
FIG. 2 is a sectional side elevation view thereof taken along the plane of line 2 2 of FIG. 1 with arrows showing the shiftable direction of the shaft to the dispensing position;
FIG. 3 is a sectional end elevation view thereof taken along the plane of line 3-3 of FIG. 2 with arrows showing the direction of travel of the tape as it is being unwound;
FIG. 4 is a sectional side elevation View of an alternative embodiment of a safety tablet dispenser of the in-vention; and
FIG. 5 is a sectional end elevation view thereof with arrows showing the direction of travel of the tape as it is -being unwound and tablets dispensed.
Description of the preferred embodiments An example of a con-figuration of the safety tablet dispenser 20 of the invention is displayed in FIG. 1. It has a rectangular configuration composed principally of a main body portion 21 and a removable end portion 22 to form a container. Dispenser 20 is generally constructed of a plastic material although many other well-known materials will also function adequately. Because of the resiliency of the plastic material, end 22 may be easily force fitted into tight engagement with main body portion 21 merely by a slight deformation of the meeting surfaces as will be described below.
Housed within the interior hollow chamber of dispenser 20 is a shaft 23 as may readily be seen in FIG. 2., which has a portion 32 extending exteriorly of the main portion of the container 21 through hole 30 in one end thereof. Mounted on'end portion 32 of shaft 23 is knob 47 which may be grasped and rotated to thereby rotate shaft 23 during the dispensing operation which will be also discussed below. On the adjoining longer side of main body 21 of dispenser 20 is slot 27 through which the tape containing tablets is dispensed. In FIG. l, it can be seen how the tape will extend through slot 27 as knob 47 is grasped and rotated.
One embodiment of the invention is shown in FIGS. 2 and 3. It may have the same outer appearance in configuration as the dispenser 20 shown in FIG. 1 as may the other discussed embodiment of this invention as Well as other contemplated embodiments.
The enclosing surface of dispenser 20 is made up of the main body portion of container 21 and end portion 22 which forms a cover. You will note that the dispenser may generally form a rectangular configuration and may be constructed of common type plastic or other similar material. As discussed above, end portion or cover portion 22 engages with main portion 21 to form a closed container by forced or friction lit. This is due principally to the resilience of tabs 28 of cover 22 and tabs 29 of body portion 21 which are deformed suiiiciently in engagement so as to create a tight friction lit between the parts. End portion 22 is removable in order to permit a new tape containing a new supply of tablets to be loaded within dispenser 20 when the tape within is exhausted.
Shaft 23 extends through hole 30 within the end of container 21 opposite to end portion 22. In this manner shaft 23 is journaled within the surface of main portion 21 which forms hole 30. A collar A31 is mounted on shaft 23 to prevent shaft 23 from being removed from dispenser 20 through hole 30. However, collar 31 does not prevent shaft 23 from moving in the opposite direction.
You will note that one end portion 32 of shaft 23 extends outside of container 21 and the other end portion 33 is journaled in tubular extension 34 of cover portion 22. A tip 35 on end portion 33 of smaller diameter than the normal diameter of the remainder of the shaft extends further within extension 34 and on which is mounted one end of a spring 36 which biases shaft 23 normally t0- ward the side of main portion 21 containing hole 30. Collar 31 will, therefore, bear against the inner surface 37 of main portion 31 to retain shaft 23 in a normal fixed position. Spring 36 is housed within extension 34 and, as stated previously, is partially mounted on tip 35 Of end portion 33 of shaft 23.
The roll of tape containing the tablets is wound about a core member 39 which is mounted on shaft 23 so that a portion thereof extends into keyway 40 of shaft 23 to prevent the shaft rotating relative to the tape. In this manner tape 38 is guided to unwind as shaft 23 is rotated. Tape 38 is aligned with slot 27 so that as it is unwound the tape containing the tablets will extend through slot 27 thereby being dispensed.
In FIG. 3 you will note that each individual tablet 41 is positioned between two strips of tape 42 which has an adhesive on the inner surface thereof so as to maintain each tablet in position. Tablets 41 are spaced so that the desired number will be dispensed according to the amount of rotation of shaft 23.
A ratchet 43 is also mounted on shaft 23 between tape 38 and inner end surface 37 of main portion 21. Ratchet 43 similarly to tape 38 is positioned on shaft 23 so that keyway 40 will cause ratchet 43 to rotate as shaft 23 rotates. A collar 44 is provided to aid in maintaining ratchet 43 in proper position on shaft 23.
A rigid pawl 45 is conventionally mounted in bracket 46 which, in turn, is conventionally mounted to the inner surface of main portion 21 of dispenser 2t). Pawl 45 is positioned so that when shaft 23 is in its normal position whereby spring 36 biases shaft 23 toward surface 37 so that collar 31 is bearing against surface 37, ratchet 43 will be prevented from rotation in either direction. This provides a lock to aid in preventing the tablets from being accidentally dispensed and alleviate the danger of tablets being dispensed by a small child.
On the exterior portion 32 of shaft 23 is mounted a knob 47 which forms a rasping surface with which to rotate shaft 23. It is mounted on the end of the shaft 23 by means of collar 48 and fastened thereto in a conventional manner. With the ratchet in the normal position so that it is locked by pawl 45, knob 47 may be grasped but may not be rotated in any direction. Furthermore, due to collar 31, it may not be pulled outwardly away from the container so as to displace shaft 23 within container 20. The only direction of movement permitted for knob 47 and, consequently, shaft 23 is inwardly toward main portion 21 as demonstrated by the arrow in FIG. 2. This will displace shaft 23 against the bias of spring 36 which, in turn, will also displace ratchet 43 and tape 38 to the positions as demonstrated by the phantom lines in FIG. 2. You will note that this frees ratchet 43 from engagement with pawl 45 so that shaft 23 is now free to rotate. Knob 47 may then be grasped and rotated in the proper direction as shown, for example, to be counterclockwise by the arrows in FIG. 3 so as to unwind the tape and dispense tablets through slots 27. As soon as the inward pressure on knob 47 is released, spring 36 will return shaft 23 to its normal position so that ratchet 43 once again engages with pawl 45 and lock shaft 23 from any rotational movement. Therefore, it is readily apparent that the only method of dispensing tablets from this dispenser is by the axially shifting of shaft 23 so as to displace ratchet 43 from its locking pawl 45 and then rotating knob 47 so that the tape extends through slot 27. As much tape as desired may be dispensed by continuous rotation of knob 27 in the counterclockwise direction. As previously discussed, when it is desired to reload the dispenser with another roll of tape cover 22 need only be removed from its frictional engagement with main portion 21 and a new tape be positioned thereon.
An alternative embodiment 'of the invention is depicted in FIGS. 4 and 5 wherein the majority of the parts are similar to those shown in the previously discussed embodiment and are, therefore, given the same number with the addition of the subscript a added to demonstrate that the part applies to this embodiment, Once again, shaft 23a is housed within dispenser 20a and is journaled within hole 30a and tubular extension 34a so that it may be rotated. It is biased to a normal position by means of spring 36a so that collar 31a bears against inner surface 37a of main portion 21a to retain shaft 23a in a normally locked position. This locked position is determined by ratchet 43a being prevented from rotation by means of pawl 45a mounted in bracket 46a which, in turn, is mounted in main portion 21a of dispenser 20a. Collar 44a helps to maintain ratchet 43a in a deiined position on shaft 23a. A grasping handle `or knob 47a is mounted on the exterior portion 32a of shaft 23a by means of collar 44a. Shaft 23a in the normal position may not be rotated in any direction until it is shifted inwardly freeing ratchet 43a from pawl 45a.
A roll of tape 38a is wound about core 39a which is mounted on shaft 23a so that when shaft 23a is moved to the dispensing position and is rotated, the tape will unwind dispensing a strip of tablets through slot 27a.
The principal difference in this embodiment is the provision of a cam 49 which is mounted on shaft 23a in a similar manner as core 39a and ratchet 43a lby means of engagement with keyway 40a so that when shaft 23a is rotated, cam 49 will also be rotated.
A flexible pawl 50 is conventionally mounted in bracket 51 which, in turn, is conventionally mounted on -the inner surface of main portion 21a and is positioned so that when shaft 23a is in the normal locked position, cam follower 50 will not engage cam 49. However, when shaft 23a is axially shifted suliiciently to free ratchet 43a Ifrom rigid pawl 45a, cam 49 will engage cam follower 50.
Then when knob 47a is grasped and rotated in a counterclockwise direction to rotate shaft 23a in the same direction, cam follower 50 will follow the cam surface until it reaches one of a predetermined number of notches 52 in the surface where it will snap into position to thereby inform the operator that a predetermined length of tape has been unwound and a predetermined number of tablets has been dispensed. If the operator desires to dispense an additional similar number of tablets, he may then continue to rotate shaft 23a in the counterclockwise direction so that once again exible cam follower 50 will follow the cam surface until it reaches the next notch 52 where it once again will snap into position to inform the operator that a similar number of tablets to that which had been previously dispensed has been once again dispensed. It should be noted that in this embodiment the tablets must be spaced further apart as they near the center of the shaft, or a number of tablets must be closely spaced with enough distance between each group to insure the dispensing of the same number of tablets regardless of where the tape is as it is being unwound. This is naturally due to the difference in circumference of the reel of tape as it is dispensed toward core 39a. Therefore, it is readily apparent in this embodiment that dispenser 20a can be regulated so -that a predetermined number of tablets may be quickly, efficiently and accurately dispensed by merely grasping handle 47a pushing inwardly and turning until cam follower 50 snaps into a new notch 52 whereby handle or knob 47a may be released so that shaft 23a returns to the normal position and pawl 45a locks ratchet 43a to prevent further rotation. The strip of tape which is extending outside of slot 27 may be then ripped off and the desired number of tablets will be contained between strips 42a. It can be readily seen how this principal may be adapted so that the dispenser 20a may be provided with a cam 52 which is designed so that it will dispense any number of desired tablets in one operation.
The dispenser is constructed of relatively inexpensive materials and a few parts so that it may be economically produced and efficiently and quickly utilized.
Thus, the aforementioned objects and advantages are most effectively attained.
1. A safety tablet dispenser comprising; a container having a hole and a slot therein to communicate the interior of said container with the exterior thereof, a rotatable shaft shiftably mounted within said container and having an exterior end portion thereof extending through said hole outside of said container, said shaft adapted to receive within said container a continuous wound tape having a multiplicity of tablets intermittently removably adhered thereto so that when said shaft is rotated said tape will unwind and extend through said slot thus dispensing said tablets, and locking and unlocking means shiftably on said dispenser which cooperates to prevent dispensing of said tablets when in one position and permits dispensing of said tablets when in another position.
2. The invention in accordance with claim 1 wherein said locking and unlocking means includes means on the interior portion of said shaft and on the interior of said container cooperating -to prevent dispensing of said tablets when said shaft is in one position and to enable the tab- 6 lets to be dispensed when said shift is shifted to another position.
3. The invention in accordance with claim 2 wherein said cooperating means on the interior portion of said shaft and in the interior of said container includes, a ratchet mounted on said shaft within said container so as to rotate as said shaft rotates and a pawl mounted on the interior surface of said container so as to engage said ratchet `when said shaft is in said one position to prevent rotation thereof and dispensing of said tablets and to disengage said ratchet when said shaft is shifted to enable said tape to be unwound and said tablets dispensed.
4. The invention in accordance with claim 2 wherein the end portion of the interiorportion of said shaft is housed in an opening formed by surfaces of an extension from the interior surface of said container, a collar is mounted on the interior portion of `said shaft adjacent to the surface of said container at the location of said hole and a spring is retained within said opening by sai-d end portion of the interior portion of said shaft so that said spring biases said shaft to the one position with said collar being against the surface of said container at the location of said hole and when said shaft is shifted to another position said spring will be compressed and when said shaft is released said spring will return said shaft to the one position.
5. The invention in accordance with claim 1 wherein said container is rectangular in configuration.
-6. The invention in accordance with claim 1 wherein a knob to facilitate rotation of said shaft is mounted on the exterior end portion of said shaft.
7. The invention in accord-ance with claim 1 wherein one portion of said container is removably aiixed to the remainder of the container, whereby said portion of said container can be removed and a new continuously wound tape can be positioned on said shaft when the previously mounted tape has been exhausted and then said one portion of said container can be re-aflixed in its normal position as part of said container.
8. The invention in accordance with claim 2 wherein the interior portion of said shaft and the interior portion of said container is adapted to have indicating means mounted thereon associated with said tape to cooperate in indicating when a predetermined number of tablets have been dispensed during dispensing thereof.
9. The invention in accordance with claim 7 wherein said cooperating means on the interior portion of said shaft and on the interior of said container includes, a ratchet mounted on said shaft within said container so as to' rotate as said shaft rotates, a pawl mounted on the interior surface of the said container so as to engage said ratchet when said shaft is in the normal position to prevent rotation thereof and dispensing of said tablets, said indicating means including a cam associated with said tape and mounted on said shaft so as to rotate as said shaft and tape rotate, a cam follower mounted on the interior of said container and positioned so that when said shaft is shifted from the one position to another position said ratchet and pawl will disengage and said cam and cam follower will engage and said cam surface being of a configuration which provides an indicator for predetermined lengths of tape to be unwound and, consequently, a predetermined amo-unt of tablets dispensed.
10. The invention in accordance with claim 1 wherein said container is of a plastic material.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,346,479 7/1920 Bell 242-5553 X 3,367,535 2/ 1968 Tanguay 221--71 STANLEY H. TOLLBERG, Primary Examiner.