US 3549036 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent Inventor Michael C. Ritsi,
, 7950 SW. 16th St., Miami, Fla. 33155 Appl. No. 801,217 Filed Dec. 24, 1968 Continuation-impart of Ser. No. 656,240, July 26, 1967, now abandoned Patented Dec. 22, I970 COMBINATION UNIT FOR FEEDING LIQUID AND Primary Examiner-Donald F. Norton Attorney-John Cyril Malloy ABSTRACT: A self-venting feeder unit comprising l a valve seat member which also serves as a collar and is receivable at the open end of a feeder container, (2) a hollow nipple member having a protuberance extending from a nipple base portion which is seatable on the seat member, and (3) a cap member having a central nipple opening through which the protuberance extends. The cap is provided with vent means and is adapted to be removably attached to the open end of the feeder container and seatable against a valve member extending radially from the nipple base portion for normal sealing engagement over the vents of the bottle cap member, the valve member being of sufficient resiliency relative to that of the cap member to permit relative deflections thereof into and out of normal sealing engagement with the vent means of the cap member in a flutter chamber between the cap and the valve seat member under the influence of atmospheric pressure exerted through the vent means and, thus, to permit a pressure equalizing flow of air into the container through equalizing ports in the flutter chamber leading into the container interior to replace material removed in feeding.
PATENTED DEE22 I970 SHEET 2 BF 2 INVENTOR.
14 T TOR/UEX COMBINATION FOR FEEDING LIQUID AND SOLID FOOD This is a continuation-in-part of application Ser. No.
656,240, filed Jul. 26, 1967 and now abandoned.
f p This invention relates to feeding devices especially for infants and is directed particularly to a feeder unit and combination of the unit and a container which can be used, selectively,
,feed soft or pureed foods, such as meats and vegetables, at a very early age. Inasmuch as in young infants the normal reflex is to suck food presented to the mouth, spoon-feeding is difficult and generally impracticable and inadequate. It is accordingly one object of this invention to provide a feeder unit for flowable materials having a novel air-admitting valve structure connectable at one end to a nipple, and at the other end, selectively, to a rigid or semirigid or collapsible container, either of which could be reuseablev or supplied as a commercially prepared disposable. baby food container, as desired or required.
It is another object to provide a feeder unit for acontainer which includes a novel air valve structure operative to permit the entrance of air to relieve any vacuum formed in the container during feeding.
It is still another object to provide a feeder unit and container in combination with the unit which is of the character described wherein the air valve is comprised of few and simple parts which can readily be disassembled for cleaning and sterilizing, whether by the special orterminal method, and
which parts are smooth and devoid of sharp comers or crevices in which food particles or milk solids can be entrapped, to insure easy and thorough cleaning with little effort after each use.
Yet another object is to provide a bottle feeder system of the above nature which will be inexpensive to manufacture, low in cost, foolproof in operation and durable in use.
It is also an object of this invention to provide an improved feeder unit and package for said unit. I
It is an additional object of this invention to provide an improved feeder unit and screen means to act as a sieve or strainer to insureuniform consistency of flowable materials being fed to a baby from a container.
It is an additional object of this invention to provide an improved feeder unit which provides a collapsible bellows type liner for a bottle or container. 7
Other objects, features and advantages of the invention will be apparent from the following description when read with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which like reference numerals denote corresponding parts throughout the several views: v
FIG. I is an elevational view of a container in combination with a feeder unit embodying the invention, with various portions broken away to show constructional details of the various parts;
FIG. 2 is an elevational view of the nipple support collar and valve seat member, shown separately and in vertical cross section;
FIG. 3=is a top view of the nipple support collar and valve seat member;
FIG. 4 is an elevational view of one form of suitable nipple member, shown separately and partly in vertical cross section;
FIG. 5 is a top view of the nipple member;
FIG. 6 is a top view of the container cap member;
FIG. 7 is an exploded" view of the feeder unit and a portion of the container, a portion of the bottle cap member being shown broken away to better illustrate constructional details thereof;
FIG. 8 illustrates, in elevation, a modified form of container for feeding soft foods;
' FIG. 9 is an elevational view similar of that of FIG. 1 of a container in combination with an altemativeembodiment of the feeder unit;
FIG. 10 is an elevational view of an alternative embodiment of a suitable nipple member;
FIG. 11 is an elevational view of another alternative embodiment of a suitable nipple member; i
FIG. 12 is an elevational view similar to FIG. 2, of an alternative embodiment of a valve seat member which may be provided with a sieve of screen means;
FIG. 13 is an elevational view similar to FIG. 12 and illustrating another alternative embodiment of the valve seat member;
FIG. 14 is a plan view of the nipple support collar and valve seat member of FIG. 12;
FIG. 15 is an exploded view similar to FIG. 7 and illustrating the feeder unit and a portion of the container, which may be provided with'a collapsiblebellows-type inner liner,
integral with or suspended from the valve seat member;
FIG. 16 is a perspective view of the feeder unit packaged in a receptacle defined by a hood and backing board; 7
7 FIG. 17 is a partial view of the unit and illustrating the movement to the normal sealing position of the valve member in assembly of the unit over the mouth of a container; and
FIG. 18 is a partial view of the unit and illustrating the valve action relative to the vent areaof the cap in the flutter chamber to equalize the pressure in the container as materials are removed from it.
Referring now in detail to FIGS. 1 through 7 of the drawings, the numeral 10 in FIGS. 1 and 7 designates a feeder unit embodying the invention in combination with a container, the combination being comprised, generally, of a bottle or container member 11, a nipple support collar and valve seat member 12, a nipple 13, a bottle cap member 14 and a nipple hood or support cover member 15.
The container member or bottle member 11 may be cylindrical in form, preferably molded of suitable nontoxic tough synthetic plastic material, the open end or mouth being provided with a threaded neck as indicated at 16, for receiving the cap member 14, as is hereinafter described.
The nipple support collar member 12, (see FIGS. 1, 2, 3, and 7), which is also preferably integrally molded of a tough synthetic plastic, is companionately shaped to mate with the other parts of the unit and container as isthe circular form shown in the drawings and formed with a peripheral flange portion of lip 17 connected to an axially-extending inner wall portion 18, which may be curvilinear in elevation as seen in FIG. 2, and defining, at its inner edge,.a central circular opening 19. I
The axially-extending inner wall portion 18 of the nipple support collar 12 is formed along its inner and upper wall surface, (as seen in FIG. 2), extending from the peripheral flange portion 17 thereof, with (a) a wall surface portion 20, which may be concavely curved defining a partial floor for a flutter chamber to be described, (b) a concentric, relatively short cylindrical wall portion 21, (c) a convergent, wall surface portion 22, shown as frustoconical in FIG. 2, and (d) a short cylindrical wall portion 22a may be provided, the outer edge of which terminates at the central circular opening or passageway 19, found in the various embodiments. The diameter of the nipple collar member 12 and the width of the peripheral flange portion 17 are such as to provide a shoulder or lower lip surface 23 at the underside of said flange portion 17 that seats against the annular upper or leading edge of the container 11 for securement thereagainst of said collar member by the bottle cap member 14, as is hereinbelow described. The flutter chamber is provided with a port leading to the interior of the container as by providing a pair of diametrically-opposed, arcuate' through openings 24 in the concave wall surface portion 20 of the nipple support collar member 12 for the passage of air, for the purpose hereinafter described.
The nipple member 13 is of molded rubbery material such as a suitable natural or synthetic rubber, is hollow, symmetrical in shape about its longitudinal axis, and formed with the usual protuberance and duct in the tip or nipple end 25 and a support or base portion, generally indicated at 26, of increased diameter for. hooked up engagement of the base and the inner surface of the cap 14 with the protuberance extending through the main feed flow passageway of the unit as will be described and is apparent in the drawings. The nipple support base portion 26 is configured to mate with the seat surface of the seat member and in the embodiment of FIG. 7, it is formed with an outer periphery with a central cylindrical wall portion 27, the lower end of which merges with an inwardlyinclined annular, 'beveled wall portion 28 which may terminate in a short, cylindrical wall portion 29 at the outer end. Flap means are provided, preferably in the following manner. The upper end of the central cylindrical wall portion 27 of the nipple support base 26, comprises a flap means and extends into an outwardly inclined, annular upper end portion 30 which may terminate in a rounded peripheral bead 31 extending into a slightly depressed or recessed horizontal annular upper end wall portion 32 lying in a plane substantially perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of rotation of the nipple member 13. As illustrated in FIG. 1, the size and exterior shape of the lower end of the nipple support base 26 of the nipple member 13 isv such as to fit in embracing relationship with respect to the nipple support collar member 12 with the inwardly-inclined beveled wall portion 28 of said nipple support base in seating engagement against the mating frustoconical wall surface portion 22 of said nipple support collar member. It is further to be noted that when the nipple member 13 is in such seating engagement with respect to the nipple support collar member 12, the upper end wall portion 32 of the nipple support base member 26 will lie substantially in a common plane with that of the upper or outer surface of the peripheral flange portion 17 of the nipple support collar member when the device is assemble as illustrated in FIG. 1.
The cap member 14, which also is preferably molded of a tough synthetic plastic material, is fonned with an internallythreaded skirt portion 33 threadable on the externallythreaded upper end of the container member 11, and a flat end wall portion 34 provided with a central circular opening 35 of such diameter as to snugly admit the protuberance or nipple end portion 25 of the nipple member 13 with the upper end wall portion 32 of the nipple support base portion 26 of said nipple member in seating engagement against the inner surface of the flat end wall portion when the bottle feeder is assembled as illustrated in FIG. 1 and .in sealing relation of vent opening 36. It will be noted that when so assembled the peripheral bead 31 of the nipple support base 26 will be deflected outwardly, it being of comparatively soft rubber and therefor substantially more resilient that the nipple support collar member 12 and the bottle cap member 14 between which it is normally clamped by compressive forces when the device is in the assembled relation illustrated in FIG. 1 and indicated in FIG. 17 thereby normally insuring a tight and effective seal of the flap means against the underside of the bottle cap member 14. As illustrated in FIGS. 1, 6 and 7, the flat end wall portion 34 of the'bottle cap member 14 is formed with vent means 36 composed of a pair of diametrically-opposed arcuate openings 36 spaced slightly outwardly of the central opening 35 of said end wall portion. As illustrated in FIG. 1, the arcuate openings 36 are so arranged as to lie over portions of the flat end wall portion 32 of the nipple member 13 when the device is assembled for use, as is indicated in FIG. 17 illustrating the assembly and in FIG. 18, illustrating the self-venting operation, which will be explained hereinafter.
gl-lood means are provided for protectively covering the nipple member 13 when assembled to the feeder unit prior to its use in feeding. To this end, the outer surface of the flat end wall portion 34 of the bottle cap member 14 is integrally formed with clip means of an outwardly-extending, concentric circular bead portion 37 defining in its outer periphery a shallow arcuate recess 38 adapted to receive, in releaseable interlocking engagement, the inwardly-directed lip portion 39 formed at the outer end of the cover member of the hood means. The nipple cover member 15, which is also preferably molded of a tough synthetic plastic material, may be frustoconical in shape, as illustrated, and closed at its upper end with an integrally formed end wall portion 40.
It will be helpful in considering now'the operation of the feeding unit to refer to FIG. 1 and also to FIGS. 17 and 18. First, with reference to FIG. 17, assembly of the feeder unit through a threaded container neck will be described, J
As the leading edge of the end 16- of 5 the container is' threadably advanced into the skirt portion -33'toward the inner surface of the end wall of thefda'p member, the surface of the valve seat compresses the nippl'ej'base and causes a force component which results in a normal'moment indicated by arrowed lines and urging the flap rr'iean's toward the normal position of sealing engagement over th''veiit means 36 of the cap 14. As seen in FIG. 1, a comparatively rigid container member 11 is used for the feeding of liquids, it will be'understood, on reference to FIG. 18, that when a vacuum develops within the container during feeding, as material is removed through the nipple duct, the relatively greater ambient atmospheric pressure will exert sufficient force to cause a moment M against the end wall portion 32 of the resilient nipple member 13, through the vent means of the cap, arcuate openings 36, to deflect the flutter valve which is shown extending from the nipple base in the direction of the interior of the container member and in the flutter chamber 41. Such deflection of the nipple base permits air to enter the annular flutter chamber 41 between the nipple base and the interior of the nipple support collar and valve seat 12 to pass through ports or vents in the flutter chamber as through the arcuate openings 24 and thereby relieve the vacuum in the container.
FIG. 8 illustrates an alternative food container 42 for feeding soft, strained or pureed foods, which preferably is integrally molded of a tough, nontoxic, synthetic plastic material to provide a substantially tubular body portion 43 having at one end a relatively rigid tubular neck portion 44, screwthreaded at the outside to receive the feeder unit comprised of the cap member and its associated valve and nipple structure as described above in connection with the embodiment of FIG. 1. The body portion 43 of the container portion 42 is of thin enough wall section to be easily compressed for moving foods of heavierconsistency, paste or puree, foods for example, in the direction of the nipple form time to time, as may be necessary to overcome sticking to the inside container walls and consequent waste of food. Vacuum relief, when required, is effected as described above in connection with the description of operation in the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 1. The food container 42 may be suspended within a rigid bottle as a liner, which,,as-indicated in FIG. 15, may, alternatively, comprise a collapsible bellows of thin walled tubular construction or a Sylphon.
Referring now to the alternative embodiments of this application, like reference characters and nomenclature will be used to designate like or corresponding parts and where suitable to facilitate a ready understanding, prime designations shall be employed.
As seen in FIG. 9, stop means 50 may be provided on the bottle end 16 of the container to limit axial movement of the skirt portion relative to the end wall of the cap 14. The surface of the cap may also be provided with grip surfaces or knurling as at 55 to aid in tightening or loosening the cap from a container. The partial floor of the flutter chamber 41 defined by the surface 20' of the nipple support member or valve seat 12 is generally transversely arranged while the ports for venting 24' are parallel to the axial centerline of the unit and located in the floor of the flutter chamber. A slight draft angle not shown is to be found in the preferred embodiment to facilitate inexpensive manufacture of the valve seat by molding. The cylindrical wall portion 29 of the nipple base portion 26 is omitted in this embodiment as is the corresponding cylindrical wall portion 22a. In this embodiment the cylindrical wall portion 21 is of a diameter slightly less than the corresponding mating surface 27 of the nipple base 26 to provide means to maintain the unit composed of the cap 14, nipple 13 and seat member 12 in an assembly as a unit. Alternatively, clip means composed of interengaging male and female portions or projections on the confronting surfaces or faces of the cap and valve seat member may be provided as at 57. Also, the surface 32 of the nipple may be flat as at 32 i.e.', without the recessed face 32 as seen in FIG. 4 in relation of FIG. 11. Additionally, sieve means or a screen element 59 may be secured across the passageway of the unit, as in the spanning relation of the opening 19 shown in FIG. 12. This elementmay be of integral construction, see FIG. 12, or be provided for optional use in a carrier 61 with a screen element 63, see FIG. '13, the carrier and end 22 of the member 12 having interengaging ears 65 to hook up in the bite of a yieldable bead 67 about the screen carrier.
In a preferred embodiment the container is provided with a bellows-type liner 71 or Sylphon of thin walled construction lightweight, inexpensive preferably plastic material having a lip 72 from which the liner body 73 depends within the container. The liner isadapted to be suspended with the interior of the container and the cap 14 tightened over the end of the container as described above.
It will be seen that the bellows-type liner is adapted to be compressed when not in use and readily stored in a sterile package, either alone or together with the packaged unit as seen in FIG. 16, which will now be described.
Referring to H6. 16,- the feeder unit is packaged in a hood of flexible plastic material 74 secured to a backing board 75 bya suitable adhesive or by heat sealing so as to prevent the entrance of germs within the receptacle 76 thus fonned, the bellows-type liner described above may be'included as a part of the feeder unit whereby the entire package is adapted to be dropped into a bottle or container with a minimum amount of handling, the bead 77 in the Sylphon being received over a mating annular bead 78 which maybe provided in the outer wall of the flutter chamber 41 see FIG. 9.
It will be noted that the feeder unit of the nipple support collar member, the nipple member and the cap member comprising the vacuum relief mechanism are simple in construction and devoid of sharp edges, crevices or small openings that are likely to trap food particles and thereby become a source of contamination;
1. In a bottle feeder, the combination comprising an elongated container having a cylindrical, externally-tlneaded neck atone end, an annular nipple support collar member receivable in said neck and including means for its peripheral attachment with respect to the outer'edge of said neck, said nipple support collar member having an annular seat, a hollow nipple member symmetrical about a longitudinal axis and having a tubular nipple end and a comparatively large diameter base end defining an annular outer wall portion complemental to and seatable on said annular seat, said nipple member base end defining with said nipple end an annular end wall portion lying in a plane substantially perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of said nipple member, a bottle cap member having an intemally-threaded skirt portion threadably received on said container neck, said cap member having a flat end wall portion with a central opening for the through passage of said tubular nipple end, the inside of said'fiat end wall portion normally being in sealing engagement with said annular end wall portion of said nipple member base, said nipple member being comparatively resilient with respect to said nipple support collar member and said cap member, a first air passage means in said flat end wall and overlying said annular end wall portion of said nipple member for exposing zones of said annular end wall to atmospheric pressure, and a second air passage means in said nipple support collar member between said seat portion and .its outer periphery for the passage of air into said container.
2. A bottle feeder as defined in claim 1 wherein said elongated container is substantially cylindrical in shape.
3. A bottle feeder as defined in claim 1 wherein said elongated container comprises a substantially rigid, extemallythreaded neck portion and a comparatively nonrigid body portion sufficiently flexible to be readily compressible by hand.
4. A bottle feeder as defined in claim 1 including a circular bead formed at the outer periphery of said annular end wall portion of said nipple member base and extending outward axially thereof.
5. A bottle feeder as defined in claim 1 wherein said nipple support collar attachment means comprises an annular peripheral shoulder integrally formed therewith and seatable on the outer edge of said container necki 6. A bottle feeder as defined in claim 5 wherein said first air passage means comprises a pair of diametrically-opposed arcuate through openings. v I
7. A bottle feeder as defined in claim 6 wherein said second air passage means comprises apair of diametrically-opposed arcuate through openings in said nipple support collar member.
8. A bottle feeder as defined in claim 5 including a nipple cover member and means for releasably securing said cover member against the outside of said bottle cap member in covering relation with respect to said nipple member.
9. For use with a container having a mouth leading to the interior, a feeder unit comprising, in combination, a valve seat member including means to attach said member in spanning relation of the container mouth and said member defining a main through passageway, an annular seat, and an annular flutter chamber, and said flutter chamber having a partial floor between said seat and chamber, a hollow nipple having a protuberance with an open duct for feeding and a base sized to dwell on said seat and to be supported thereon, flap means of resilient material in the flutter chamber in a first normal position, a cap sized to cover the mouth of the container and the flutter chamber, said cap having a central opening sized to receive the protuberance and vent means communicating with said flutter chamber and in assembly said flap means sealing said vent means when in said normal position, means to con nect said cap to a container, port means for communicating between the flutter chamber and a container interior, said flap means being yieldable to forces caused by vacuum on withdrawal of contents from the container to expose the vent means and complete a passageway into the container interior through said flutter chamber and port means and simultaneously, to store memory energy in the resilient flap means tending at all times to restore the flap means to the normal sealing position relative to said vent means, whereby the flap means flutter in feeding to equalize pressure within and without the container interior. I
10. The feeder unit as set forth in claim 9 wherein mutually intercooperating means are provided to hold the nipple and flap means and cap and valve seat member in assembly as a unit.
11. The unit as set forth in claim 9 wherein hood means are provided to protectively overlay the protuberance.
12. The unit as set forth in claim 11 wherein the hood comprises an inverted cup-shaped member-and includes means to hold the hood over the protuberance;
13. The unit as set forth in claim 12 wherein the hood means comprises a flexible skin of plastic material and a backing board to underlay the unit and means to secure the skin to the board to define a receptacle nesting said unit.
14. The unitas set forth in claim 9 wherein screen means are provided spanning the passageway of the unit.
15. The unit as set forth in claim 14 wherein the screen means is carried by said valve seat member.
16. The unit as set forth in claim 15 wherein the screen means comprises an annular carrier and a screen element and means on the carrier to connect across the passageway of the seat member.
17. A feeder unit comprising, in combination:
A. a cap having a top surface with a central. opening and vent means radially spaced from said opening and a threaded skirt to connect to a threaded container neck;
B. a nipple comprising:
1. an enlarged base portion receivable within the skirt in snug hooked up engagement under the margin of the central opening;
2. aprotuberance portion sized for snug passage through the central opening;
3. an annular flap flange of resilient material extending from the base at the juncture of said portions;
4. said flap flange having a sealing surface to underlay and bear against the margins of said vent means in normal fluidtight relation with said top surface when in assembly and of gradually thickening section between the distal portion and the proximal portion; and
5. said base portion from said juncture having a first axial length and being of a predetermined configuration; and
C. a valve seat member having:
1. an outer stepped wall having: peripheral means to engage and rest on the terminal edge of a container neck and present a face confronting the top surface of the cap;
2. said stepped wall defining a seat at one end configured to' mate and receive the nipple base portion and a flutter chamber intermediate said one end and the face at the other end of said member;
3'. said valve seat member between said ends being of a second axial length foreshortened relative to that of said first axial length so that when the skirt is threadably advanced onto a threaded container neck, the base portion is compressed between the seat and the cap, the valve seat, nipple base and cap defining a flutter chamber and the flap flange is biased into sealing relation of said vent means; and
4. port means in the valve seat member for communicating between the flutter chamber and the interior of a container to which the feeder unit is adapted to be threadably connected.
18. The unit as set forth in claim 17 wherein a protective hood means is provided over said protuberance.
19. The improvement as set forth in claim 18 wherein said hood means is of plastic material and a backing board is provided to captivate the unit within said hood-means.
20. The unit as set forth in claim 17 in combination with a liner means carried in depending relation on said seat member.
21. The combination as set forth in claim 20 wherein said liner comprises a thin walled bellows as-a liner for said container. .i v
22. In the combination of a container and anipple and end cap assembly, wherein said end cap is provided with acen'tral opening and said nipple includes a base on one side of the cap and a protuberance extending through the opening the improvement comprising, (a) a valve seat to support the nipple base and having a peripheral portion to be held against the mouth of the container and clamped intermediate the container and the cap when the assembly and container are assembled, (b) said seat being sized to urge the nipple base toward the cap when in clamping engagement and said valve seat defining an open annular flutter chamber between the valve seat and cap in open communication with the interior of the container, (c) vent means in the cap communicating with said flutter chamber, and (d) a flutter sealing means captivated in the flutter chamber and normally and yieldably urged into sealing relation of said vent means when said seat is in said clamped engagement and yieldable in response to suction caused by removal of material from the container through the nipple to permit an equalizing flow of air to pass into the flutter chamber and interior of the container.