US 3521306 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
July 21, 1910 E. c. JACOBS DISPENSERS FOR FLUSH TANK TOILET FIXTURES Filed June 6, 1967 ELVA'AVAVAVAVAVIV JNVENTOR. EDWARD C M6055 E F1 E:. l.
United States Patent 3,521,306 DISPENSERS FOR FLUSH TANK TOILET FIXTURES Edward C. Jacobs, San Carlos, Calif., assignor of onehalf to Vincent Cilia, South San Francisco, Calif. Filed June 6, 1967, Ser. No. 649,407 Int. Cl. E03d 9/02 US. Cl. 4-228 11 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE A device for dispensing toilet fixture conditioning chemicals and fragrance adapted to fit into a toilet flush tank having an operative change in water level during use, said device comprising an elongated plastic tube formed for immersion in upright position in the flush tank, a plurality of thin-walled tapered cups formed to fit closely in telescopic relation in said housing, with each cup containing water soluble conditioning material and with the tube being formed with internally projecting shoulders to intercept and support the lowermost of said cups whereby dissolving of the contents of said cups will cause said stack to settle with the empty cups telescoping together and allowing accommodation of additional cups at the upper end thereof, said tube being formed with sufi'icient weight, and/ or attachment to main tain the tube in the desired upright position against crosscurrents of water, a tub in said housing above the water level in the flush tank and adapted to contain volatile liquid fragrance material.
This invention relates to improvements in dispensers for flush tank toilet fixtures and more particularly to devices adapted for dispensing desired quantities of conditioning agents and fragrance in response to the ebb and flow of the water in the flush tank.
A serious problem encountered in previous devices of this general character has been refillability, that is, either the dispenser must be thrown away as soon as its contents are used, or provision must be made for replenishing the contents. It has been found that a solid cake of mixture which is water soluble at a controlled rate is particularly suited for this purpose. Between flushings, the water in the device becomes somewhat saturated with the dissolved material and is automatically dispensed to the interior of the flush tank when the toilet is flushed so that the dissolved material will be carried down into the bowl of the mixture with the flush water.
It is also desirable that the material contain a water soluble die which will color the water and give indication to the user that the dispenser is still performing its function. This water soluble die makes the cakes of material unpleasant and difiicult to handle unless the cake is enclosed in a package. Even then, problems arise as the user attempts to unwrap the cake and place it in the dispenser.
The present invention contemplates a refillable dispenser adapted to contain the solid conditioning material in open-topped, thin-walled, tapered, conical plastic cups. These cups are stacked one on the other in upright position inside the dispenser, with each cup supporting the next cup above on the upper surface of the material contained within the cup. As this material gradually dissolves, the cup above sinks down into the supporting cup until, when the cups are completely emptied of material, they nest in a compact space within the dispenser.
This construction makes it possible to merely drop another open-topped cup onto the stack from time to time as the height of the stack is reduced by dissolving away of the material within the cups. Since the stacked cups occupy relatively little space, it is possible to use a dispenser for long periods of time without removing the cups, thus eliminating the problem of getting the hands stained with the intense die mixture contained in the soluble material.
It is also highly desirable for the dispenser to be capable of dispensing a fragrance into the air, for obvious reasons. The present invention contemplates structure for accomplishing this purpose automatically in response to the rise and fall of the water level within the flush tank. or this purpose, a highly efficient wick arrangement is provided in which the volatile, liquid fragrance material is carried throughout a Wick in the usual manner and air is automatically blown through the wick as the water level rises within the flush tank after flushing is completed.
It is therefore an object of the present invention to provide a device for dispensing toilet fixture conditioning chemicals and the like which is capable of accepting numerous refills of solid conditioning material contained in tapered cups, and which is also capable of accommodating a large number of empty cups in nested fashion.
Another object of the present invention is to provide a dispensing device of the character described which automatically dispenses desired quantities of conditioning chemicals and fragrance in accordance with, and in response to, the ebb and flow of water in the flush tank.
A further object of the invention is to provide a dispenser device of the character described which will dis pense a predetermined amount of fragrance into a predetermined volume of air by passing such air over a large surface area saturated with liquid fragrance material.
Another object of the present invention is to provide a device of the character described which is simple and sturdy in construction, is non-corroding, and contains no moving parts so that the dispenser device may be positioned in a flush tank for indefinite periods.
Other objects and features of the present invention will become apparent from the following description and drawing, in which:
FIG. 1 is a side elevational view of a dispenser constructed in accordance with the present invention, with major portions being broken away and shown in crosssection;
FIG. 2 is a side elevational view of a refill package for the dispenser of FIG. 1, with portions being broken away and shown in cross-section for clarity; and
FIG. 3 is a fragmentary vertical cross-sectional view of the upper end of a modified form of the dispenser device.
While I have shown only the preferred form of my invention, it should be understood that various changes or modifications may be made within the scope of the claims hereto attached without departing from the spirit of the invention.
Referring now to the accompanying drawing in detail, it will be seen that the dispensing device of the present invention comprises basically a tube or housing 11 formed for partial immersion in the water 12 contained in the flush tank 13 of a toilet fixture (not shown), the housing 11 being dimensioned to accommodate a stack of tapered cups 14 containing water-soluble conditioning material 16, the housing 11 being formed with openings therethrough above and below the water level 17 of the flush tank '13 whereby lowering of the water level upon flushing will cause the water in the housing 11, and any dissolved conditioning material 16, to flow into the flush tank.
As may be seen in FIG. 1 of the drawings, the water level 17 will drop quite rapidly to the level indicated by the dotted line 17-A when the fixture is flushed and the water is allowed to drain rapidly from the flush tank 13 down into the bowl of the mixture.
As the water level drops to the position shown at 17-A, the Water level within the housing 11 drops correspondingly and a predetermined quantity of water passes out through the opening in the lower end of the housing 11 into the flush tank. Since this water has been exposed to the water-soluble material contained within the cups 14 inside of housing 11, a desired quantity of such material is carried into the flush tank with the water as it leaves the housing 11.
In accordance with the present invention, the cups 14 are of thin-walled construction, preferably a fairly rigid plastic, and are formed to nest within each other as they are emptied, see FIG. 1. As here shown, the cups 14 are of inverted frustoconical form and are provided with an outwardly extending lip at their rims 18. The cups are stacked in the manner shown in FIG. 1 and it has been found that the action of the water rushing into and out of the housing 11 will dissolve the material 16 out of the lowermost cups faster than from the cups positioned higher in the housing.
As a feature of the present invention, the cups 14 protect the hands of the user from contact with the material 16, which usually contains a fairly concentrated watersoluble die. As shown in FIG. 2 of the drawings, the package received by the user includes a thin plastic lid 19 formed in such manner that the user can easily snap off the lid 19 before dropping the cup 14 into the housing 11.
Preferably, and as here shown, the housing 11 is provided in the form of a plastic tube open at both ends. The housing 11 may be proportioned to stand upright on its lower end on the bottom wall 21 of the flush tank, or may be provided with a wired hook 22 engageable over the lip of the flush tank. In order to give adequate weight to the housing 11 to ensure its staying in position when buffeted by currents of water in the flush tank, a suitable amount of weight is added to the lower end. This weight is here provided in the form of a brass sleeve 23 mounted within the tubular housing 11. The sleeve 23 is preferably formed and dimensioned to provide a series of inwardly projecting shoulders 24 capable of intercepting and supporting the lowermost cup 14 and the other cups stacked thereon. The upper edge of the sleeve 23 is cut out in several places, as indicated at 26, so that water may flow freely therepast. Also, the lower end of the tubular housing 11 is preferably provided with cut-out portions 27 to facilitate water flow if the housing 11 is rested on the bottom 21 of the flush tank.
As a feature of the present invention, tub means 31 is provided for containing a supply of liquid-volatile fragrance material within the housing 11, above the upper water level 17, in such manner that the rising of the water level as the flush tank refills will displace air and volatilized fragrance from the housing 11. Preferably, as here shown, the means 31 is of tub-like form such as a plastic tub formed to fit across the close off the upper end of the housing 11.
The tub means 31 includes a passage 32 for communicating the interior of the housing 11 below the tub with the area above the tub. This passage is conveniently provided by mounting a generally vertically disposed plastic tube 33 through the bottom wall 34 of the tub 31, the tube 33 extending upwardly to terminate well above the maximum level 36 of the liquid fragrance material contained in the tub.
As a feature of the present invention, a novel wick means 41 is provided, with this wick means being adapted for positioning in the volatile fragrance material in the tub means 31 and also in the flow of air passing through the passage 32. The wick means 41 comprises a sock-like sleeve of wick material fitted over and closing off the upper end of the housing 11 so that air forced by rising water from the interior of the housing 11 through the passage 32 will pass through the wick 41 and over the large saturated surface area provided thereby.
Obviously, the wick 41 must be capable of acting like a wick to saturate itself from the supply of liquid fragrance material contained in the tub means 31, and must also be air-permeable so that the rising water inside the housing 11 can force the air through the wick. It has been found that a knitted cotton sleeve is suitable for the purposes described and may be positioned over the upper end of the housing 11 in the manner shown in FIG. 1 of the drawings, with the unstretched central portion of the sleeve dangling into the liquid fragrance material contained in the tub means 31. With this construction, the wick means 41 may easily be removed for replenishing the supply of liquid fragrance material, or the liquid fragrance material may be poured into the tub means 31 with the wick means in place. It is also noted that the wick means 41 and tub means 31 are constructed for easy removal from the upper end of the tubular housing 11 so that additional cups 14 may be dropped into the housing as required.
In the form of the invention shown in FIG. 3 of the drawings, a closure cap 51 is releasably secured to the upper end of housing 11 by any suitable means, such as threaded connection 52. This forms a chamber 53 above the tub means into which the air is forced from housing 11 by water rising in the housing as the flush tank refills.
As an important feature of the invention, the chamber 53 is vented directly to the atmosphere externally of the flush tank. It has been found in certain types of flush tank fixtures that the flush water will draw the fragranceladen air out of the flush tank and down the drain. The venting of the fragrance-laden air directly from the chamber 53 to the area outside the flush tank completely avoids this problem.
This venting is accomplished by the provision of a duct 54 communicating the chamber 53 with the exterior of the flush tank 13. The duct 54 may be provided by a suitable tube but it is preferred to incorporate the duct in the hook structure 22a. In order to avoid interference with the lid of the flush tank (not shown), the hook structure 22a should preferably be flattened and widened at the portion 56 which engages over the wall of the flush tank. Increased efliciency may be obtained by extending a suitable appendage 57 of the wick means 41 up into the duct 54.
From the foregoing, it will be apparent that the dispensing device of the present invention is particularly well-adapted for dispensing desired quantities of conditioning chemicals and fragrance and is easily refillable with a minimum amount of bother and messiness to the user.
1. A device for dispensing toilet fixture conditioning chemicals and fragrance. comprising a housing formed for immersion in the water contained in the flush tank of a toilet fixture, a stack of tapered cups containing water-soluble conditioning material, said housing being dimensioned to accommodate said stack of tapered cups containing water-soluble conditioning material and hold them in the water in essentially a vertical telescoping orientation, said housing also being formed with openings in the upper and lower portions thereof whereby the lowering of the water level in the flush tank upon flushing will cause the water in said housing and any dissolved conditioning material to flow into the flush tank.
2. A device as described in claim 1 and wherein means is provided cooperative with said housing at the lower end thereof for intercepting and supporting the lowermost of said stack of tapered cups whereby such cups will nest together as their contents are dissolved.
3. A device as described in claim 1 and wherein said housing is provided with tub means for containing a volatile fragrance material above said water level inthe housing whereby rising of the water level as the flushtank refills will displace air and volatilized fragrance from said housing.
4. A device as described in claim 3 and wherein said housing is substantially tubular in form and has an openable upper end whereby replacement cups may be dropped into said housing on top of said stack, said tub means being formed to fit across and close olf the upper end of said housing, said tub means further being formed to provide an unobstructed passage communicating the interior of said housing below said tub means with the area thereabove.
5. A device as described in claim 4 and wherein said passage is provided by a generally vertically-disposed tube passing through said tub means and with its upper end terminating above the level of the volatile fragrance material contained therein.
6. A device as described in claim 4 and wherein said device also includes a wick means adapted for positioning in the volatile fragrance material in said tub means and in the flow of air passing through said passage.
7. A device as described in claim 6 and wherein said wick means is in the form of a resiliently-stretchable, air-permeable sock fitted over and closing off the upper end of said housing so that air forced by rising water through said passage will be forced from said housing through said Wick means.
8. A device for dispensing toilet fixture conditioning chemicals and fragrance, comprising an elongated plastic tube formed for immersion in upright position in the water contained in the flush tank of a toilet fixture, a plurality of thin-walled, tapered cups stacked in said housing, with each of said cups containing water-soluble conditioning material, said tube being formed with internally projecting shoulders formed to intercept and support the lowermost of said cups whereby dissolving of the contents of said cups will cause said stack to settle with the emptied cups nesting within said lowermost cup, the lower end of said tube being formed with sufficient weight to maintain said tube in the desired position against cross-currents of water in the flush tank, a tub supported in said housing above the water level in the flush tank and adapted to contain volatile liquid fragrance material, and a sock-like wick removably positionable across the upper end of said tube with a portion of the wick dipping into said liquid fragrance material whereby air expelled from said tube by rising water as the flush tank refills will be forced out of said tube through said wick.
9. A device for dispensing toilet fixture conditioning chemicals and fragrance, comprising a generally tubular housing formed for partial immersion in the water contained in the flush tank of a toilet fixture, said housing being formed with openings therethrough above and below the water level of the flush tank whereby the lowering and raising of the water level upon flushing will cause the water level in said housing to rise and fall correspond ingly, tub means positioned across and closing off the upper end of said housing, said tub means being formed to hold volatile liquid fragrance material, a generally vertically-disposed tube passing through said tub means and with its upper end terminating above the level of the volatile fragrance material contained therein, wick means fitting over and closing off the upper end of said tube and extending downwardly into the volatile fragrance material, and other means connected to and closing off the upper end of-said housing and formed to provide a duct communicating the interior of said housing above said tub with the outside of the flush tank.
10. A device as described in claim 9 and wherein said wick means is in the form of a resiliently-stretchable, air-permeable sock fitted over and closing off the upper end of said tube so that air forced by rising water through said tube will be forced from said housing through said Wick means and through said duct means to the exterior of the flush tank.
11. A device as described in claim 10 and wherein said Wick means is formed with a wick appendage extending into said duct.
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LAVERNE D. GEIGER, Primary Examiner D. MASSENBERG, Assistant Examiner