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Publication numberUS3495567 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateFeb 17, 1970
Filing dateFeb 20, 1968
Priority dateFeb 20, 1968
Also published asDE1907657A1
Publication numberUS 3495567 A, US 3495567A, US-A-3495567, US3495567 A, US3495567A
InventorsGayle Robert, Hayes Thomas H
Original AssigneeCreative Packaging Inc
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Pill dispenser with indicating dial
US 3495567 A
Abstract  available in
Previous page
Next page
Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

1'. H. HAYES TAI. 3,495,567 PILL DISPENSER WITH INDICATIRG DIAL 7 Feb, 17, 1979 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 mvzmons THOMAS H. HAYES ROBERT GAYLE Filed Fob, 2o. 1968 ATTORNEY 'r. H. HAYES ETAL PILL DISPENSER WITH INDICATING DIAL Feb.17, 1970 2 Sheets-Sheet. 2

Filed Feb. 20. 1968 INVENTORS THOMAS H. HAYES ROBERT GAYLE ATTORNEY United States Patent F 3,495,567 PILL DISPENSER WITH INDICATING DIAL Thomas H. Hayes and Robert Gayle, Indianapolis, Ind., assignors to Creative Packaging, Incorporated Filed Feb. 20, 1968, Ser. No. 706,846 Int. Cl. 609i 9/40 U.S. Cl. 116-121 9 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE A pill dispenser having an indicating dial which automatically advances each time the dispensers cover and base are rotated relative to each other for removal of a pill. The indicating dial when aligned with one predetermined pill may be freely rotated without relative movement between the cover and base, thereby enabling the dial to be easily set for the proper indicium, such as a day of the week, prior to taking the first pill.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION In writing out prescriptions it is generally the practice of physicians to state that a pill should be taken at prescribed intervals. Such interval may be only a matter of hours, or, on the other hand, may be on the basis of one per day, or perhaps one every other day. In any event, it is essential that the patient be able to determine whether or not he has taken a pill for that interval since it is quite possible that his memory will fail him. Various devices have been contrived in which the patient, upon taking a pill from the dispenser or container, will in a separate physical action record this fact. For those patients who are always able to remember to make a recording mark or other similar act, such a procedure is sufiicient. However, many a person has tended to forget entering on his own personal record the fact that he has taken a pill for a specified day. Thus, he is confronted with the problem of trying to remember whether or not he actually took a pill for that interval. The dispenser disclosed in U.S. 3,227,127, issued to Robert Gayle, provides a reliable and economical means for dispensing pills of one formula.

However, recent contraceptive pill formulations have used a combination of pills of two formulations which require the taking of one type of pills followed by the second type of pills. It therefore is imperative that the patient be able to coordinate the proper indicium on the indicating dial with the first pill to be taken. The dispenser of U.S. 3,227,127 does not have a means for rotating the indicating dial Without also moving the pill exit from one pill to an adjacent pill. Thus, although this dispenser of the prior art is satisfactory for dispensing pills of only one formula, it presents difficulties in dispensing pills of different formulas in a prescribed sequence.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The dispenser of this invention has a base with individual pill compartments and a cover with a pill exit rotatably mounted on the base. An indicating dial is rotatably mounted between the cover and base and is in motiontransmitting engagement with the base whereby the dial is advanced one indicium each time the cover is rotated to an adjacent pill. However, the motion-transmitting means cooperating between the base and dial is of a reduced magnitude at the compartment for the pill designated as the first to be removed in the sequential dosage prescription. At this point the dial may be rotated on a portion accessible externally of the cover and base to cause overriding of the motion-transmitting means. The dial is rotated in this fashion until the correct indicium appears. Although the motion-transmitting means is of a 3,495,567 Patented Feb. 17, 1970 reduced magnitude at this point, it is nevertheless sufficient to advance the dial when the cover is rotated for taking the second pill.

This dispenser is of a simplified design in order that itmay be readily molded from an inexpensive plastic material. Inasmuch as the expense in producing this dispenser is relatively small, it may be used in place of a conventional bottle or package normally used in selling the pills through a pharmacy. The invention disclosed herein differs from other devices used to dispense pills in that a minimum of simplified parts are used, all of which may be easily molded by conventional molding techniques.

Thus, it is one object of this invention to provide for a new and improved pill dispenser.

Another object of this invention is to provide for a new and improved pill dispenser which has a simplified automatic indicator.

Another object of this inevntion is to provide for a new and improved pill dispenser and indicator comprised of relatively few and inexpensive parts, enabling it to be discarded upon being emptied.

Another object of this invention is to provide a dispenser with a dial which may be set to a particular indicium for a predetermined pill.

Other objects and advantages of this invention will be apparent upon reading the following description in connection with the drawing.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING FIG. 1 is a top view of the dispenser of this invention with the Cover partially broken away to expose several empty pill compartments.

FIG. 2 is a section along line 2-2 of FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is a partial side view of the dispensers periphery.

FIG. 4 is a section along line 44 of FIG. 1.

FIG. 5 is a partial top View of the dispenser with the cover broken away to show the dial in its beginning position.

FIG. 6 is a view similar to FIG. 5 but with the dial shown partially advanced to a second position.

FIG. 7 is a section view along line 77 of FIG. 5.

FIG. 8 is a partial perspective view of the dispensers cover and break-away tab.

FIG. 9 is a partial bottom view of the dispenser with an integrally molded indicator dial prior to final assembly.

FIG. 10 is a section along line 10-10 of FIG. 9.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT Referring to FIGS. 1 and 2, the dispenser of this invention comprises three primary components consisting of a base 11, cover 12 and indicating dial 14. Each of these components may be formed by conventional injection molding using a plastic material such as polystyrene. Base 11 has a plurality of pill components 15 formed in a cir cular pattern about its perimeter. Each pill 16 will be placed on reinforcing ribs 17 which extend throughout the pill compartments. Although circular pills are shown, it is to be understood that this dispenser may be modified to receive elongated and elliptical pills, tablets, capsules, etc. On the inner perimeter of the pill compartments a concentric ring of gear teeth 18 is formed with a single gear tooth for each pill compartment. However, it is to be noted from FIG. 5 that for a predesignated pill compartment which for our purposes may be considered as the first pill compartment 15a the gear teeth 18 are modified and comprise a pair of projections 18a which straddle this first pill compartment.


As shown in FIG. 2, hub 23 is integrally formed on base 11 with an arcuate lip 24. A plurality of anti-reverse ratchets 26 (FIG. 3) are formed on flange 27 of the base. An anti-reverse ratchet is provided for each pill compartment.

Indicating dial 14, for efficiency of manufacturing, may be formed integrally with base 11 and subsequently detached therefrom. Referring to FIG. 9, it can be seen that indicating dial 14 is connected to the perimeter of access opening 29 by three triangular elements 30. This is the position that indicating dial 14 has in relation to base 11 immediately upon being removed from its mold. In FIG. 10, force is represented by arrows Which may be directed on the back side of indicating dial 14 to break it loose from base 11 and simultaneously rotatably mount it on cover 12.

Cover 12 is of annular configuration and has a side wall 32 extending about substantially all of its perimeter with the exception of pill exit 33. Side wall 32, as shown in FIG. 3, is serrated about its external surface for more secure gripping by the person using the dispenser. On the bottom edge of side wall 32 a pair of diametrically opposed, anti-reverse pawls 35 are formed for engagement with anti-reverse ratchets 26.

An inwardly extending hub 36 on cover 12 is formed for rotatable engagement about base hub 23. In FIG. 2 cover hub 36 is shown with a small lip 37 which engages the underneath side of lip 24 on hub 23 of the base. This point of engagement is such that relative rotation is permitted therebetween. Assembly of cover 12 on base 11 is achieved by exerting downward force on the top of cover 12 until its lip 37 snaps into place underneath lip 24.

In FIG. 8 a lift-out tab 39 is shown which has been integrally molded with cover 12. Lift-out tab 39 has a finger 40 which will lock into place with a small recess 42 on the outer perimeter of the beginning pill compartment 15a. Thus, cover 12 will not inadvertently be rotated until lift-out tab 39 is broken off and discarded.

As previously mentioned, dial 14 is broken from base 11 and simultaneously mounted on the inner surface of cover 12. Referring to FIG. 10, cover 12 has a spindle 43 with a partial ridge 44 for retaining dial 14 once it is forced onto the spindle. The assembly of the dial onto the spindle may be performed subsequent to snapping cover 12 onto base 11 containing the pills and prior to distribution of the dispenser to the public.

Dial 14 in this particular embodiment has a concentric ring of seven gear teeth 46 to effect three complete rotations of the dial as it advances from the first pill compartment 15a through the twenty-first pill compartment. Associated with each of the seven teeth 46 of indicating dial 14 is an indicium 47 which in this instance is a day of the week. Thus, the dispenser of this invention, although shown for providing the removal of one pill a day may also be marked with indicia to provide for the removal of a pill at other intervals such as one pill every four hours. One of the indicia 47 is aligned with a reference means which in this embodiment comprises a clear magnifying window 48 on cover 12.

Keeping in mind that in this instance there are twentyone pill compartments and the indicia are the seven days of the Week, it is apparent that once indicating dial 14 is forced onto spindle 43 the same day of the week will always appear at pill compartment 15a regardless of the number of revolutions cover 12 makes with base 11. On the other hand, had dispenser base 11 been provided with a number of pill compartments not representing an even number of days of the week combinations, indicating dial 14 could be changed by rotating cover 12 until the desired day of the week appears for the first pill compartment 15a. For example, a twenty-pill dispenser would effect only a one-day change for the dial with each full revolution of the cover relative to the base.

It is therefore desirable that for a dispenser having twenty-one pill compartments (or any other multiple of seven) the indicating dial carrying the days of the week be made adjustable for correlating the correct day of the week with the first pill to be taken. This is achieved by providing a reduced magnitude for the motion-transmitting means comprising gear teeth 18 on base 11 and corresponding gear teeth 46 on dial 14. Reduced magnitude is represented in this particular embodiment by the pair of gear teeth projections 18a straddling pill compartment 15a on its inner perimeter. In FIG. 5 it can be seen that these two projections have inclined ends 50. The dimen sion of these ends is critical in that they must engage the gear teeth of dial 14 when cover 12 is rotated relative to base 11. On the other hand, the projections must be dimensioned to provide reduced contact with dial 14 of such a degree that the patient may rotate dial 14 in the starting position where it is adjacent compartment 15a.

FIGS. 5 and 7 illustrate this feature by showing inclined surfaces 50 of projections 18a to diverge outwardly whereby gear teeth 46 of dial 14 contact only the extreme tips of projections 50 when the dial is rotated adjacent pill compartment 15a. Thus, when the cover 12 is in the beginning position relative to base 11 shown in FIG. 5 with pill exit 33 over pill compartment 15a, indicating dial 14 may be freely rotated by turning the portion of it extending through access opening 29. If it has been determined that Monday is the first day to take a pill the dial is rotated until this day is visible through window 48. Lift-out tab 39 is broken off and discarded, unlocking cover 12 from base 11 for rotation. The dispenser is inverted and the pill will fall free from its compartment 15a.

Assuming that the dispenser has been designed for one pill each day, the patient, on Tuesday, advances the cover 12 clockwise relative to base 11 until pill exit 33 is over the successive adjacent pill. As the cover is rotated, it will carry dial 14 with it. Thus, one of the teeth 46 on the dial is moved closer to one of the projections 18a. Referring to FIG. 6, the inclined surface 50 of projection 18a engages the dial gear teeth 46 and causes the dial to rotate counterclockwise to the Tuesday indicium. At this point the magnitude of the motion-transmitting means is greater and dial 14 can no longer be rotated without rotating the cover relative to the base. A gear tooth 46 of the dial is fully engaged with projection 18a and a tooth 18 on base 11. Dial 14 is always engaged with the teeth of the base throughout the remainder of the dispensers cycle.

As the cover is rotated relative to the base it is desirable that positive seating means he provided therebetween to assure complete alignment of pill exit 33 with a pill compartment. The anti-reverse ratchets 26 and 35 assist in accomplishing this and also provide an audible click with each advancement of the cover. In addition, a pair of bumps 51 (FIGS. 1 and 4) may be formed on the inner surface of cover 12 to track along gear teeth 18 to take up any slack in the fitting between the cover and base.

Although only one embodiment of this invention has been illustrated and described, it will be apparent to those with skill in the art that modifications can be made without departing from the spirit of the invention and the scope of the appended claims.

We claim:

1. In a pill dispenser having a base with a plurality of pill compartments and a cover defining a pill exit rotatably coupled with said base, the improvement comprising: an indicating dial rotatably mounted on a hub extending from said cover, motion-transmitting means cooperating between said dial and said base comprising elements on said base in driving contact with a ring of elements on said dial effecting rotation of said dial each time said cover pill exit is aligned with a successive adjacent one of said pill compartments, said elements on said base being reduced a predetermined amount adjacent the first pill compartment with a corresponding reduction in driving contact with said dial elements, said dial having a 5 portion exposed externally of said cover and said base whereby said dial may be rotated relative to said cover and base and override said base elements adjacent the first pill compartment.

2. A pill dispenser as defined in claim 1 in which said pill compartments are in a circular pattern.

3. A pill dispenser as defined in claim 2 in which said indicating dial is rotatably mounted on the inner surface of said cover.

4. A pill dispenser as defined in claim 3 in which a peripheral portion of said indicating dial extends externally of said cover.

5. A pill dispenser as defined in claim 4 in which said indicating dial is rotatably mounted on an inwardly extending and off-center spindle on'said cover.

6. A pill dispenser as defined in claim 5 in which said cover is limited in unidirectional rotation relative to said base.

7. A pill dispenser as defined in claim 6 in which said motion-transmitting means comprises a concentric ring on said dial and a concentric ring on said base, said rings being in driving contact with each other.

6 8. A pill dispenser as defined in claim 7 in which said concentric rings on said base and dial have gear teeth always in driving engagement with each other.

9. A pill dispenser as defined in claim 8 in which said gear teeth on said base adjacent said predesignated pill compartment efiect reduced driving contact with said dial gear teeth to permit rotation of said dial while simultaneously maintaining said base and cover in a fixed position relative to each other.

References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS LOUIS J. CAPOZI, Primary Examiner US. Cl. X .R. 20642

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U.S. Classification116/308, 206/533, 206/534
International ClassificationA61J7/04, A61J7/00, B65D83/04
Cooperative ClassificationA61J7/04, B65D83/0454
European ClassificationA61J7/04, B65D83/04C1