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Publication numberUS3549055 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateDec 22, 1970
Filing dateJul 1, 1968
Priority dateJul 4, 1967
Also published asDE6608621U
Publication numberUS 3549055 A, US 3549055A, US-A-3549055, US3549055 A, US3549055A
InventorsGatland Lawrence O
Original AssigneeSterling Drug Inc
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Aerosol clam shell dispenser
US 3549055 A
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent Inventor Lawrence 0. Gatland Leeds, England Appl. No. 741,582 Filed July 1, 1968 Patented Dec. 22, 1970 Assignee Sterling Drug Inc.

New York, N.Y. a corporation of Delaware Priority July 4, 1967 Great Britain No. 30706/67 AEROSOL CLAM SHELL DISPENSER 12 Claims, 6 Drawing Figs.

U.S. Cl. 222/182, ZZZ/402.13, 222/509 Int. Cl B67d 5/06 Field of Search 222/182,

206/(lnquired); 215/12; 251/340, 342

[56] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,061,129 10/1962 Fitzgerald 215/12X 3,272,391 9/1966 Meshberg.... 222/183X 3,302,834 2/1967 Alsop 222/183X 2,488,854 11/1949 Crane 222/505X Primary Examiner-Robert B. Reeves Assistant Examiner-Norman L. Stack, Jr. Attorney-Charles R. Fay

ABSTRACT: This invention relates to a clam-shell squeeze housing for an aerosol, an actuator for the aerosol, and cooperating means between the squeeze housing and actuator to move the actuator toward the aerosol and actuate it when the housing is squeezed, with means to return the parts to nor mal in operative position upon release of the housing.

PATENTEU UEC22|97U $549 0 SHEET 1 OF 2 INVENTOR LAURENCE O. GATLAND ATTORNEY PATENTED DEB22 I970 SHEET 2 OF 2 INVENTOR LAURENCE O. GATLAND BY M f p y,

ATTORNEY AEROSOL CLAM SHELL DISPENSER BACKGROUND or THE INVENTION The commonly available form of dispenser comprises an aerosol container with a valved outlet, this being opened by the application of pressure so that the outlet communicates with the interior of the container. Normally, the pressure is applied directly onto the outlet and towards the container. Thus, it is usual for the container to beheld upright in the palm of a hand, and the pressure to be applied by flexing a finger extending upwards onto a suitable plunger device. Another common manner of operatingis for the container to be held inverted between thumb and index finger, and the pressure to be applied by flexing the two digits.

It has now been discovered that the valved outlet can be operated in a most advantageous manner by placing the container in a squeezable housing and having an actuator connected to the outlet. Coacting means can then ensure that, when the housing is squeezed, the actuator is moved towards the container so as to operate and open the valve. With such a construction, it can be readily arranged that the pressure applied to the valved outlet, even though generated indirectly, is always substantially in line with the direction of movement of the valve, thus preventing the valve wear and other inaccuracies that can arise from faulty operation of conventional dispensers. Moreover, the position in which the container is held is substantially less critical, the squeezing of the housing determining the movement of all the parts relative to each other. Furthermore, the apparatus can be readily constructed of such a size and shape that it can be held hidden in one hand and, therefore, operated in a most discreet manner, yet without the necessity for too much strength, particularly important points when considering the use of medicament containing aerosol devices by patients, especially the weak and infirm. These and other difficulties experienced with the prior art devices have been obviated in a novel manner by the present invention.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION Accordingly, the present invention provides an aerosol dispensing apparatus for use with an aerosol container having a valved outlet, comprising a squeezable housing and an actuator, the actuator beingconnectable to the valved outlet and there being coacting means such that, when the housing is squeezed, the actuator is moved towards the container so as to operate and open the valve and release at least some of the contents of the container.

The housing may be formed of two segments hinged together at the base. The hinging may be achieved by corresponding projections and recesses, these being movably joined together by any suitable means, such as by a rivet, nail or screw; or even by virtue of the projections being a tight push-fit into the recesses. Each segment may have a projection on one side and a corresponding recess on the other, so that the two segments may be identical. The projections and recesses are desirably integral with the segments, and may be so shaped that the segments can be squeezed together but are prevented from opening completely, though at least sufficiently forreplacement of the aerosol container as required. Each segment may have internallya part which overlaps the other segment so that in use, even when the two segments are as far apart as is allowed by the shaping of the projections and recesses, the aerosol container is not visible. The segments may be made of any acceptable material; most preferably they are made of polypropylene, polyethylene or polystyrene.

The housing may advantageously be formed of one piece of polypropylene. Opposite sides of the piece may be relatively thick and, in effect, will be equivalent to two separate segments, but the two sides will be joined together by two thin membranes which can be readily folded up whenever the piece is squeezed. Similarly, there may be an integral hinge of relatively thin material across the base of the piece. The housing may be translucent or opaque. Also, it may be colored with any desired pigment.

The shape of the housing depends primarily on the shape of the aerosol container. Normally, it is substantially circular so that, when it is formed of two segments, each is substantially semicircular.

The coacting means whereby the actuator is moved towards the container when the housing is squeezed is preferably provided by a cam and cooperating followers. Thus, the cam (or cams) may be on the actuator and the followers (desirably two per cam) internally on the housing. For example, when the housing is formed of two segments, or of one piece but with opposite sides equivalent to two segments, each segment may have internally near its top and at the two outermost points a cam follower, and each of these may be so positioned relative to its cooperating cam that, upon the housing being squeezed, the followers ride up the cams, pulling the actuator towards the housing and, therefore, towards the aerosol container.

The actuator usually comprises a delivery orifice (mist button") into a delivery tube whichmay be at any desired angle to ensure the most convenient presentation of the contents in the aerosol container. The actuator may also comprise a skirt having holes which allow the passage of air past the mist button and thereby aid the presentation of the aerosol material. The actuator skirt may be a sliding push-fit on the top of the aerosol container, and the camsof the preferred coacting means may be advantageously positioned on the skirt.

The actuator may be protected by means of an over-cap. Conveniently this fits on the top of the housing, and has projections which ensure the housing cannot be squeezed by .chance pressure to cause inadvertent operation of the dispensing mechanism. For example, when the housing is formed of two segments, the over-cap may have a pair of projections which keep the two segments apart.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS The character of the invention, however, may be best understood by reference to one of its structural forms, as illustrated by the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 is an exploded" perspective view of the parts of an embodiment constructed according to the invention,

FIG. 2 is a view in side elevation of the embodiment shown in FIG. 1,

FIG. 3 is a view of the lower part of the embodiment shown in FIG. 1, part being in section, and the actuator being in the normal nondispensing position,

FIG. 4 is a view similar to FIG. 3, the actuator being in the actuated dispensing position,

FIG. 5 is a transverse sectional view of another form of housing, in normal nondispensing position, and

FIG. 6 is a like view of the form of housing shown in FIG. 5 but in the actuated dispensing position.

Referring to FIGS. 1 to 4, an aerosol container (for example, 20 ml) of e.g. impact extruded aluminum has a valve part 2 (for example, 20 mm. diameter) having a valve actuating stem 3. A delivery orifice 4 in the stem 3 communicates with the interior of the container 1 upon the stem 3 being depressed.

An actuator 5 of e.g. polypropylene fits on the stem 3, and has a mist button 6, a delivery tube 7, and a skirt 8. The skirt 8 has air holes 9, and has a sliding push-fit on the periphery of the valve part 2 which is crimped over the top portion of the container 1. The skirt bears two exterior cams 10a and 10b, as shown, adjacent the open lower edge thereof.

The container 1 is situated within a segmented housing having two segments 11a and 11b of e.g. polypropylene hinged together at the combined base 12. Projecting parts 12a correspond closely but not exactly with recesses 12b and are joined by means of rivets 120, the shaping being such that the two segments 11a and 11b are held in position and may be squeezed together but are prevented from opening completely, though sufficiently for replacement of the container 1 as required. Each segment 11a and 11b has interiorly an overlapping part 13a and 13b, and two projecting parts (followers) represented respectively by 14a and 14b. The pairs of followers 14a and 14b engage with the corresponding cams 10a and 10b.

The segments 11a and 11b have upper lips 15a and 15b which fit into a protecting over-cap 16 of e.g. polypropylene.

- This over-cap 16 has a projection 17 either side (one only shown), each extending into the respective spaces 18a and 1812 between the segments 11a and 11b (see FIG. 2). The top of the cap 16 has raised rib parts 19.

In use, the device is held with the segmented housing in the palm of a hand, and the over-cap 16 is removed, this being aided by the raised parts 19. The positioning of the raised parts 19 and the shaping of the projections 17 ensure that normally the over-cap 16 will be pulled or pushed off in a forward direction as shown by the arrow A in FIG. 1, thereby reducing the chances of damage to the actuator 5. The two segments 11:: and 11b may then be squeezed together simply by flexing the fingers on one side and the thumb on the other. The pairs of followers 14a and 14b slide up the respective cams 10a and 10b, simultaneously pulling the actuator downwards, causing the stem 3 to be depressed into the interior of the valve part 2 (as shown in FIG. 4), and thus opening the valve. The contents of the container 1, or a metered quantity thereof, depending on theprecise construction of the valve part 2, are then released, passing through the orifice 4 to the mist button 6 and out into the delivery tube 7. Accordingly, by appropriate angling of the apparatus, the contents of the container 1 may be directed wherever desired.

Release of the squeezing pressure of the segments 11a and 11b by extending the fingers and thumb allows the stem 3 to rise, for example, by means of a spring (not shown) within the valve part 2. The actuator 5 is thereby pushed away from the container 1, the projecting parts 140 and 14b ride down the cams a and 10b, and the segments 11a and 11b are pushed apart ready for the next operation.

Pressure may be applied again, or the over-cap 16 may be refitted over the lips 15a and 15b. With the over-cap 16 in position, the projections 17 prevent any chance pressure on .the segments 11a and 11b causing inadvertent operation of the dispensing mechanism.

*' It is to be noted that the position in which the container 1 is held is substantially uncritical. However, the squeezing of the segments 11a and 11b is effected, because the depressing of the actuator 5 is achieved indirectly by means of the mechanical system of cams 10a and 10b and followers 14a and 14b, the depression being always substantially in line with the valve part 2. Consequently, the valve wear and other inaccuracies that can arise from faulty operation of conventional dispensers is avoided with the dispensing apparatus of the present invention.

, Referring to FIGS. 5 and 6, there is shown a housing 21 formed of one piece of e.g. polypropylene. Opposite sides 21a {and 21b are relatively thick, about the same thickness as segments 11a and 11b in FIGS. 1 to 4, the two sides 21a and 21b being joined together by two thin membranes 21c and 21d. As jshown in FIG. 6, the membranes 21c and 21d are readily .jfolded up when the housing 21 is squeezed. Otherwise, the

' structure and functions are as previously described.

The aerosol container may be of any convenient form. Thus, any of the conventional aerosol containers may be employed with the dispensing apparatus of the present invention. For example, the container may be made of metal, glass or plastic, the selected type depending primarily on the internal pressure desired. Even so, because the container is within the housing and, therefore, normally not visible, its appearance is I less important than with many of the conventional aerosol containers.

Similarly, the valve in the aerosol container may be of any convenient form. Most preferably, however, it is a metering valve.

Again, the contents of the aerosol container may be any of "those normally presented by the aerosol technique. Nevertheless, the present invention has been developed particularly for the presentation of medicaments for inhalation therapy.

Classes of medicaments which may be so presented are hormones, enzymes, alkaloids, steroids, analgesics, expectorants, antihistamines, bronchodilators, vasoconstrictors, antitussives, anginal preparations, antibiotics and sulphonarnides. Specific examples which may be named are isoproterenol, phenylephrine, isoetharine, epinephrine, ephedrine, thenyldiamine, ergotamine, atropine, scopolamine, narcotine, codeine, colchicine, cortisone, alkyl nitrates such as amyl and octyl nitrate, and derivatives thereof, for example, acid addition salts thereof such as hydrochlorides and sulfates.

It is obvious that minor changes may be made in the form and construction of the invention without departing from the material spirit thereof. It is not, however, desired to confine the invention to the exact form herein shown and described, but it is desired to include all such as properly come within the scope claimed.

The invention having been thus described, what is claimed as new and desired to secure by Letters Patent is:

Iclaim:

1. An aerosol dispensing apparatus for use with an aerosol container having a valved outlet member including a stem with a delivery orifice, comprising a squeezable housing for the container, and a stem actuator, the actuator being cooperatively associated with the valved outlet member, and coacting means on the squeezable housing and the actuator moving the actuator towards the container and outlet member to operate and open the valved outlet member, releasing at least some of the contents of the container, when the housing is squeezed, said housing comprising a plurality of segments, and a hinge connecting the segments together.

2. An aerosol dispensing apparatus as claimed in claim 1, wherein the hinge comprises interfitting projections and means movably joining the respective projections.

3. An aerosol dispensing apparatus as claimed in claim 1, wherein each segment includes a projection on one side and a corresponding projection forming a recess on the other side, so that the two segments are identical.

4. An aerosol dispensing apparatus as claimed in claim 1, wherein the hinge comprises interfitting projections and means movably joining the respective projections, the projections and recesses being integral with the segments.

5. An aerosol dispensing apparatus as claimed in claim 1, wherein the hinge comprises interfitting projections and means movably joining the respective projections, the respective projections being shaped to allow the segments to be squeezed together but prevented from opening beyond a predetermined point.

6. An aerosol dispensing apparatus as claimed in claim 1, including interior overlapping parts on the segments.

7. An aerosol dispensing apparatus for use with an aerosol container having a valved outlet member including a stem with a delivery orifice, comprising a squeezable housing and an actuator, the actuator being cooperatively associated withthe valved outlet member, and coacting means on the squeezable housing and the actuator moving the actuator towards the container and outlet member to operate and open the valved outlet member, releasing at least some of the contents of the container, when the housing is squeezed, wherein the housing is a single unitary plastic member opposite sides of which are relatively thick and are joined together by two thin membranes which may be readily distorted whenever the housing is squeezed.

8. An aerosol dispensing apparatus as claimed in claim 7, wherein the housing is a single unitary plastic member, there being an integral hinge of relatively thin material across the base thereof.

9. An aerosol dispensing apparatus for use with an aerosol container having a valved outlet member including a stem with a delivery orifice, comprising a squeezable housing and an actuator, the actuator being cooperatively associated with the valved outlet member, and coacting means on the squeezable housing and the actuator moving the actuator towards the container and outlet member to operate and open the valved outlet member, releasing at least some of the contents of the container, when the housing is squeezed, wherein the coacting means comprises a cam and cooperating follower.

10. An aerosol dispensing apparatus as claimed in claim 9, wherein the coacting means comprises a cam and cooperating follower, wherein the cam is on the actuator and the follower on the housing. I

11. An aerosol dispensing apparatus as claimed in claim 9, wherein the coacting means comprises a cam and cooperating follower, wherein the cam is on the actuator and the follower on the housing, the actuator including a skirt and the cam being on the skirt.

12. An aerosol dispensing apparatus for use with an aerosol container having a valved outlet member including a stem with a delivery orifice, comprising a squeezable housing and an actuator, the actuator being cooperatively associated with the valved outlet member, and coacting means on the squeezable housing and the actuator moving the actuator towards the container and outlet member to operate and open the valved outlet member, releasing at least some of the contents of the container, when the housing is squeezed, a cap for the actuator, the cap fitting on the top of the housing, and projections on the cap separating the segments and ensuring that the housing cannot be squeezed by chance pressure to cause inadvertent operation of the dispensing mechanism.

Referenced by
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Classifications
U.S. Classification222/182, 222/402.13, 222/509
International ClassificationA61M15/00
Cooperative ClassificationA61M15/009
European ClassificationA61M15/00P