US 3586208 A
Abstract available in
Claims available in
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent  Inventor Charles M. Hussey 304 Highland Street, Weston, Mass. 02193  AppLNo. 811,948 [221 Filed Apr.1,l969  Patented June 22, 1971  DISPENSER 1 13 Claims, 20 Drawing Figs.
 U.S.Cl .4 221/299, 221/302  Int. Cl 865d 83/04  FleldolSearch 221/288. 246. 299; 206/42  ReferencesCited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,018,921 1/1962 Hermanson 22l/299X 2,918,167 12/1959v Lowen 206/42 2,892,569 6/1959 Sinclair 221/299 2.673,777 3/1954 Ward 206/42X FOREIGN PATENTS 1,177,072 8/1964 Germany Primary Exc'zminerLeonard Summer Attorney-Compston, Shaw & Stephens ABSTRACT: A pill dispenser is formed with a housing having a trap chamber through which pills are dispensed one at a time by means of a slider formed of resilient material having a gating band arranged for moving between two positions. In a normally assumed first position, the gating band closes the trap chamber outlet and leaves the inlet open so that a pill can enter the trap chamber. In an actuated second position, the gating band closes the inlet to prevent entry of any more pills into the trap chamber, andopens the outlet so that the trapped pill can be dispensed by itself. Both the gating band and the spring band are deformed and flexed when moved to the second position so that they each urge the slider back to its normally assumed first position to close the dispenser. The openings in the dispenser are preferably hermetically sealed by a tear-away strip, and the dispenser can be formed either with an integral pill storage chamber or as part of a closure for the neck of a pill bottle.
PATENTEUJUNZZMI 3.586208 sum 2 UF 3 ENTO CHAR M. HU Y lax W M ATTORNEYS PATENTEU JUH22 |97| K/IOO IIIII III SHEET 3 OF 3 mvumou. CHARLES M. HUSSEY BYCZMIHMZW I M AT TORNEYS DISPENSER Prior art trap chamber dispensers have used spring strip gating bands for gating a trap chamber and returning an actuator to a normally closed position, but such gating bands have suffered fatigue and have been unable to satisfactorily return an actuator consistently to a completely closed position.
The objects of the invention include, without limitation:
driving home the slider of a trap chamber pill dispenser with sufficient force to assure consistent and complete closure of the dispenser;
overcoming the deficiencies of prior art trap chamber pill dispensers;
a dispenser that is convenient and easy to use and accurately dispenses one pill at a a time;
a dispenser that is attractive, compact, flat, and easy to carry about;
a dispenser that is simple and easy to manufacture and uses a minimum of material so that it can be economically discarded after use;
a dispenser that can easily be hermetically sealed to protect its contents and which gives its contents minimum exposure during dispensing;
a dispenser that is versatile in handling a variety of items including pills, tablets, and capsules;
-a dispenser that can be arranged with its own storagev chamber or disposed in the neck of a bottle or other container;
a dispenser capable of using replaceable cartridges;
a dispenser that can easily have its contents identified at the factory to eliminate pharmacy errors.
These and other objects of the invention will be apparent hereinafter from the specification which describes the inven tion, its use, operation, and preferred embodiments, from the drawings, which constitute a part of the disclosure, and from the subject matter claimed.
Generally, the inventive dispenser has a housing forming a trap chamber and includes a slider for dispensing items one at a time from the trap chamber. The slider has a gating band which, in a normally assumed first position, closes the trap chamber outlet and opens the trap chamber inlet, and, in a second position, opens the trap chamber outlet and closes the trap chamber inlet. A spring band extends from the gating band, and a slot guides the motion of the slider between its first and second positions. The guide slot is shaped so that both the gating band and the spring band are flexed from their normal configurations when the slider is moved to its second position. Hence, both the gating band and the spring band urge the slider toward its first position in which the dispenser is effectively closed. The slider also includes an actuator movable in a housing aperture for moving the slider to its second position for dispensing an item. The openings in the housing are preferably sealed by a tear-away strip .that is removed for dispensing, and the dispenser can be arranged with an integral storage chamber or to fit the opening of a separate container.
In the drawings:
FIG. 1 is a partially cutaway, front elevation of a preferred embodiment of the inventive dispenser including a storage chamber, pills, and a tear-away strip.
FIG. 2 is a partially cutaway, front elevation of the dispenser of FIG. 1 with the tear-away strip removed and the slider actuated for dispensing a pill;
FIG. 3 is atop view of the dispenser of FIG. 1;
FIG. 4 is an end elevation ofthe dispenser of FIG. 1;
FIG. 5 is a bottom view of the dispenser of FIG. 1;
FIG. 6 is a cross section of the dispenser of FIG. 1 taken along the line of 6-6 thereof;
FIG. 7 is a cross'section of the dispenser of FIG. 1 taken along the line 77 thereof;
FIG. 8 is a cross section of the dispenser of FIG. 1 taken along the line 88 thereof;
FIGS. 9l2 are schematic views of alternative slider and slot arrangements for the inventive dispenser;
FIG. 13 is a schematic view of theinventive dispenser combined with an openable storage chamber for bulk or cartridge refilling;
FIG. 14 is a cross section view of an alternative embodiment of the inventive dispenser arranged to fit the neck of a bottle, said cross section taken on line 14-14 of FIG. 17;
FIG. 15 is a cross section of only the base plug of FIG. 14 taken on line 14-14 of FIG. 17;
FIG. 16 is a cross section of only the base plug of FIG. 14 taken on line 16-16 of FIG. 17;
FIG. 17 is an end elevational view of the dispenser of FIG. 14;
FIG. 18 is an elevational view of the head for the dispenser of FIG. 14;
FIG. 19 is an elevational view ofa slider for the dispenser of FIG. 14; and
FIG. 20 is a bottom view of the dispenser of FIG. 14.
As shown in FIGS. 1-8, dispenser 25 is formed of a rear piece 28 and a front piece 29, with at least a portion of front piece 29 being transparent for viewing pills 27 in chamber 26. Housing parts 28 and 29- are preferably molded of a plastic material such a polyethylene. This material is preferred for its moisture barrier properties, its tearability, and its economy, but other materials are also suitable according to the invention. Housing parts 28 and 29 are secured together in any convenient manner such as by fusion, adhesives, ultrasonic welding, and the like.
Body portions 28 and 29 are configured to define a trap chamber 30 with an inlet 31 and an outlet 32 arranged so that a pill 27 can enter inlet 31, rest in trap chamber 30 and be dispensed through outlet 32. Also, a recess 33 is formed at the top of dispenser 25 to provide an actuator aperture.
Body portion 29 is formed with a relatively thin outer wall 34 that is bounded by lines of weakness 35 for tearing away from dispenser 25. A tab 36 is secured to wall 34 by a rivetlike connection 37 so that tab 36 can be gripped and pulled away from dispenser 25 to initiate a tearing away of wall 34 from dispenser 25, in the manner of a beverage can tear strip. Lines of weakness 35 are preferably formed during molding of body part 29, and body part 29 is preferably formed of a plastic material suitable for tearing along lines 35.
Before being torn away, wall 34 covers and seals outlet 32 from trap chamber 30 and recess 33 to make dispenser 25 hermetically sealed for protection and preservation of pills 27.
A slider 40 is disposed in housing parts 28 and 29 to accomplish dispensing of pill 27. Slider 40 includes a gating band 41 and a spring band 42. Also, spring band 42 includes a doubledback portion 43 having a finger-grippable actuator 44 disposed in recess 33.
Slider 40 is preferably formed of a resilient plastic material having a long flex life and a springlike ability to return to a normally assumed configuration. A suitable material is sold under the brand name DELRIN. Spring band 42 is joined to gating band 41 in any convenient way and slider 40 is preferably molded in a single piece in the approximate configuration illustrated in FIG. 1, but with portion 43 in theapproximate configuration shown in FIG. 2.
A slot 45 is formed on body portions 28 and 29 to guide slider 40 in its motion. Slot 45 includes a gating slot 46 and a spring band slot 47 for respectively guiding gating band 41 and spring band 42.
One free end 48 of gating band 41 normally extends across opening 32 of trap chamber 30 to close trap chamber 30 and prevent dispensing of any pills from dispenser 25. The other free end 49 of gating band 41 is arranged to extend across inlet 31 of trap chamber 30 as best shown in FIG. 2 for preventing the entry of any pills into trap chamber 30 while a pill is being dispensed therefrom.
Slider 40 normally rests in a first position as illustrated in FIG. 1, and by engagement of actuator 44, slider 40 can be moved to a second position illustrated in FIG. 2 for dispensing a pill. In such second position, both spring band 42 and gating band 41 are flexed or deformed from their normally assumed configuration by spring slot 47 and gating slot 46 respectively. Thus, from such second position, slider 40 is urged toward its first position shown in FIG. 1 by the combined resiliency of gating band 41 and spring band 42 for a firm and positive forcing of slider 40 back to its closed position.
Doubled-back portion 43 is preferably formed to diverge from spring band 42 so as to urge actuator button 44 outward from recess 33. Thus, when tear-away strip 34 is removed from dispenser 2S, actuator button 44 pops out of recess 33 a sufficient distance to be easily engaged by the finger for actuating dispenser 25. Then, it is merely necessary to tilt dispenser 25 so that a pill 27 rolls into trap chamber 30, and to pull back on actuator button 44 in the direction of the arrow in FIG. 2 to move slider 40 to its illustrated position for closing the trap chamber inlet 31 to dispense the trapped pill from chamber 30.
Alternative spring band arrangements are schematically illustrated in FIGS. 9-12. Gating band 51 of slider 50 of the dispenser of FIG. 9 extends around three sides of trap chamber 52 to normally close the outlet 53 and to block off the inlet 54 when actuated. Spring band 55 extends straight away from gating band 51, but upon actuation by movement of actuator button 56 in the direction of the arrow, spring band 55 is forced into a curved slot 57. Thus, from an actuated position, the slider of FIG. 9 is urged toward its illustrated position by both spring band 55 and gating band 51.
The slider 59 of FIG. operates in reverse relative to dispenser 25. Gating band 60 extends in a curved path around trap chamber 61 to normally close outlet 62 and to block off inlet 63 when actuated. Spring band 64 curves upward to actuator button 65 which is pushed forward in the direction of the arrow for actuating the dispenser. Both spring band 64 and gating band 60 are deformed by such actuation and urge slider 59 toward its normally assumed, illustrated position.
Slider 66 of the dispenser of FIG. 11 includes a gating band 67 curving around trap chamber 68 to normally close outlet 69 and to block off inlet 70 upon actuation. Spring band 71 extends upward to actuator 72 which is pushed downward in the direction of the arrow for an actuation of the dispenser. Both gating band 67 and pring band 71 are deformed by such actuation and urge slider 66 back to its illustrated position.
Slider 73 of the dispenser of FIG. 12 operates in reverse relative to the dispenser of FIG. 9. Gating band 74 extends around three sides of trap chamber 75 to normally close outlet 76 and to block off inlet 77 when actuated. Spring band 78 leads upward to actuator 79 which is pushed downward in the direction of the arrow for dispensing a pill. Both gating band 74 and spring band 78 are flexed by such actuation and urge slider 73 back to its illustrated position.
The dispenser 81 of FIG. 13 is similar to previously described dispenser except that it opens to uncover storage chamber 80 for refilling the dispenser. A passageway 82 leads from the pill storage chamber 80 to trap chamber 83 and the dispenser wall over passageway 82 is preferably transparent to show whether a pill remains for dispensing. This feature allows a replaceable cartridge such as a flat pill package to be inserted into the storage chamber and allows a visual determination of whether any pills remain for dispensing from the cartridge. Passageway 82 can be made as long as desired to give adequate warning that a pill supply is nearly exhausted.
Another embodiment 100 of the inventive dispenser is shown in FIGS. 14-20 for mounting in the neck ofa pill bottle 99. Dispenser 100 is preferably made in two parts secured together--a base plug 101 and a head 106. Base plug 101 of molded plastic fits down inside the neck of bottle 99 and has curved surfaces 102 and 103 forming a general funnel shape for guiding pills out of bottle 99 and into opening 120 for dispensing. The sides of opening 120 are bounded by a pair of substantially parallel, plane surfaces 121 and 122 and end surfaces 123 and 124. Curved surfaces 102 and 103 engage plane surfaces 121 and 122 respectively and are inclined downwardly and away from opening 120 in respectively opposite directions so as to guide pills into proper engagement with surfaces l2l124 of opening 120.
A threaded skirt 104 extends outward around plug 101 for threading onto the neck of bottle 99 to hold dispenser in place. Also, a protective cap 105 is threaded onto plug 101 to seal and protect dispenser 100 enroute to a consumer. Cap 105 can be removed for dispensing pills and then threaded back onto plug 101 after each pill is dispensed, if desired.
Head portion 106 of molded plastic fits into the top of plug 101 to provide a trap chamber 107 having an inlet 108 and an outlet 109. A guide slot 110 is formed in head 106 to receive slider 111. Slider 111 is normally configured as shown in FIG. 19 for fitting in slot 110 so that the free end 112 of gating band 113 normally closes outlet 109, and the free end 114 of gating band 113 closes inlet 108 upon actuation. Spring band 115 and gating band 113 are both flexed during such actuation by the movement of slider 111 in slot 110, and an actuator button 116 is provided for moving slider 111.
In operation, bottle 99 is held so that a finger or thumb can grip actuator button 116 and pull it in the direction of the arrow to move slider 111 in slot 110 to a dispensing position, from which a pill can be dropped out of trap chamber 107. In such position, both spring band 115 and gating band 113 are flexed and urge slider 111 back to its closed position shown in FIG. 14.
The surfaces 102 and 103 leading to the trap chamber inlet for dispensers such as shown in FIG. 14 are preferred for orienting pills for passage freely through a trap chamber. Pills stored in bulk in bottles or other containers are randomly oriented and need to be guided to a rolling position for proper passage through a trap chamber. Capsules are preferably oriented along their long axes for passage through a trap chamber, and depending upon the shape of items to be dispensed, surfaces leading to the trap chamber inlet are curved to provide the proper orientation. Items other than pills, capsules, or tablets can be dispensed with the inventive dispenser and suitable accommodations can be made in the dispenser size, shape, and surfacing.
Dispensers according to the invention can be made cheaply enough to be discarded after use, and this and the hermetic sealing capability permit a total dosage requirement to be packaged in the dispenser at the factory where the dispenser can be conveniently marked to show the contents of the dispenser so as to reduce pharmacy errors in filling prescriptions for pills.
Actuator buttons or arms can have a variety of shapes within the spirit of the invention, and as illustrated, sliders can be variously shaped and disposed a different locations in a dispenser. Many different materials, sizes, shapes, and configurations are possible within the spirit of the invention.
Thus, it will be seen that the inventive dispenser accomplishes its above-stated objects in a firmly closing, reliable and simple dispenser that is compact, economical, and versatile. Other features, advantages, and other specific embodiments of this invention will be apparent to those exercising ordinary skill in the pertinent art after considering the foregoing disclosure. In this regard, while specific embodiments have been described in detail, such disclosure is intended as illustrative, rather than limiting, and other embodiments, variations, and modifications can be effected within the spirit and scope of the invention as disclosed and claimed. Furthermore, the following claimed subject matter is intended to cover fully all the aspects of the disclosed invention that are unobvious over prior art, including all equivalent embodiments.
1. A dispenser comprising:
a. a housing forming a trap chamber having an inlet communicating with items stored for dispensing and an outlet for passage of said items from said housing;
b. a slider formed of resilient material and disposed for sliding in said housing;
I. said slider including a gating band having one free end arranged for closing said outlet when said slider is in a first position and for opening said outlet when said slider is in a second position, and another free end for closing said inlet when said slider is in said second position and opening said inlet when said slider is in said first position;
2. said gating band having a normally assumed configuration including a curvature between said free ends;
3. said slider including a spring band extending from said gating band;
4. said spring band having a normally assumed configuration including a curved portion and a relatively straight portion;
' c. said housing being formed to define a guide slot for said slider;
l. a gating portion of said slot being arranged for receiving and guiding said gating hand, and a spring portion of said slot being arranged for receiving and guiding said spring band;
2. each of said gating and spring portions of said slot having portions generally conforming respectively to said normally assumed configurations of said gating band and said spring band, and said slot being configured so that both said gating band and said spring band are flexed from said respective normal configurations whenever said slider is moved from said first position, and in seeking to return to said respective normal configurations, both said gating band and said spring band urge said slider toward said first position;
d. said housing being configured to define an aperture opening to the exterior of said housing and communicating with said slot; and
e. actuator means joined to said slider and movably disposed in said aperture, said actuator means having a normally assumed outlet-closed position in said aperture corresponding to said first position of said slider and an outlet-open position in said aperture corresponding to said second position of said slider.
2. The dispenser of claim 1 wherein said spring band extends from the region of one of said free ends of said gating band.
3. The dispenser of claim I wherein a tear-away strip covers and seals said outlet and said aperture and is removed for dispensing items from said dispenser.
4. The dispenser of claim 3 wherein said tear-away strip is v defined by lines of weakness and includes a grippable tab for initiating said tearing away.
5. The dispenser of claim 1 wherein said actuator comprises a doubled-back portion of said spring band and includes a member shaped for engagement by a finger for moving said actuator from said outlet-closed position to said outlet-open position 6. The dispenser of claim 5 wherein said doubled-back portion of said actuator is normally divergent from said spring band so that said fingergrip member extends outward from said aperture.
7. The dispenser of claim 6 wherein a tear-away strip covers and seals said outlet and said aperture, and holds said actuator inside said housing until said tear-away strip is removed for dispensing.
8. The dispenser of claim 7 wherein said tear-away strip is defined by lines of weakness and includes a grippable tab for initiating said tearing away.
9. The dispenser of claim 1 wherein said housing is extended on said inlet side of said trap chamber to form a storage chamber communicating with said inlet.
10. The dispenser of claim 1 wherein said housing is formed as a cap for closing the neckof a storage chamber for said items with said inlet of said trap chamber communicating with said storage chamber.
11. The dispenser of claim 1 including a removable cap fitting over said outlet and said aperture.
12. The dispenser of claim 1 wherein said inlet of said trap chamber is formed of surfaces configured to orient said items for passage through said trap chamber.
13. The dispenser of claim 12 wherein said inlet surfaces comprise two plane, substantially parallel surfaces each substantially tangential to the periphery of said inlet and extending downward therefrom, said plane surfaces being bounded by a first end surface and a second end surface each substantially tangential to the periphery of said inlet and extending downward therefrom, and a pair of curved inlet surfaces each communicating with a respective one of said plane surfaces between said first and second end surfaces and inclined downwardly and away from said inlet in respectively opposite directions.