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Publication numberUS3591043 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJul 6, 1971
Filing dateApr 21, 1969
Priority dateApr 21, 1969
Publication numberUS 3591043 A, US 3591043A, US-A-3591043, US3591043 A, US3591043A
InventorsMurphy Kelly
Original AssigneeMurphy Kelly
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Article container and dispenser
US 3591043 A
Abstract  available in
Images(1)
Previous page
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent [1113,591,043

[72] Inventor Kelly Murphy 2,960,259 11/1960 Aveni 221/299 X 55 West 14th St.. New York, NY. 1001! 2,116,041 5/1938 Regan 206/42 X [21] ApplNo 817.7 2 O35 246 3/1936 Rea i t i r r 221/64 [221 Filed 1969 Primary Examiner-Leonard Summer [45] Patemed Attorney-James and Franklin [54] B AND DISPEASER ABSTRACT: A plurality of articles are stacked within a aims, 6 Drawing Figs.

resiliently deformable, normally closed housing and held In U.S. .t osition a first stop member located beneath the lowermost v 221/299 of the stacked articles. The application of an external force to In. t t t A t t r the housing produces an opening at one end of the housing Search i t i .4 and causes the first top member to move away from the 299; 206/42 lowermost of the stacked articles while a second stop member R f d is positioned intermediate the lowermost article and the arti- [561 e erences cles stacked thereabove thereby to permit the lowermost one UNITED STATES PATENTS of the stacked articles to be released through that opening 3,319,827 5/1967 Englesson 221/299 while the remainder of the stack is held in place.

PATENTEDJUL slsn 3, 591.043

F/G. FIG. 4 12/6. 6

INVENTOR K5147 MZ/PPHY 0M 4PM ATTORNEY ARTICLE CONTAINER AND DISPENSER The present invention relates generally to containers, and particularly to a container provided with means to dispense articles stored within the container such as tablets, pills and the like.

As a result of the steady progress made in the fields of medicine and pharmacology, an increased number of medications have become available in pill, tablet, and/or capsule form. Many patients under the care of a doctor are required, as part of their treatment, to take one or more of such medications periodically. Many other individuals, not under the care of a doctor, frequently carry on their person a supply of pills, such as aspirin tablets and tranquilizers, to take when needed to ease the discomforts of an ache or pain or to alleviate the tensions of modern living. Articles of this type are commonly packaged and sold in large quantities in bottles, and in smaller quantities in snap-open boxes or rolls. The bottle containers are usually so bulky and heavy as to militate against their being carried by the user. The boxes, rolls, and the like are small and light, but have the disadvantage that when they are opened to permit access to the pills, all of the pills are exposed, and hence may spill. (The term pill" is hereafter used generally to refer to individual elements regardless of shapes.)

Further disadvantage involved in the use of the known containers is that the user must often use both his hands to effect a dispensing operation, one hand holding the container while the other removes an article from the container and places it in the user's mouth. This is cumbersome at best. When, as often happens, the user only has one hand free for such an operation, the dispensing operation is impossible. Moreover, the fact that the user must handle the article prior to placing it in his mouth is obviously not a completely sanitary operation and may also result in soiling the fingers.

Article containers have been proposed which permit the dispensing of controlled numbers of articles therefrom, usually one at a time, without the need for the handling of the articles by the user. These containers either require a relatively complex mechanism to effect the controlled release of an article or else they are limited as to the shape of the article that can be dispensed therefrom without breaking the articles.

The containers of the prior art which permit individual dispensing of pills are relatively costly. It is not practical to utilize them as disposable containers. Yet the convenience of disposability is highly prized, particularly today when inexpensive plastic materials are readily available. Disposable containers are desirable for reasons of cleanliness the pills need not be handled -and convenience the containers need not be refilled. Moreover, a given prior art dispensing container design is usually capable of dispensing only articles of one particular shape and extensive redesign, going beyond mere dimensional change, has been required to adapt such structures to the dispensing of articles of different shapes. Thus a prior art device for dispensing tablets would not work for spherical pellets and the dispensing of soft capsules was very difficult to accomplish in any event.

A further undesirable feature of some of the prior art article containers and dispensers is that opening of the container to dispense an article is often not achieved when desired.

It is therefore an object of this invention to provide an article container and dispenser which is suitable for use in the storing and dispensing of pills of various shapes and sizes.

It is a further object of this invention to provide a container and dispenser of the type described which can reliably dispense articles of varying sizes and shapes in an accurately controlled manner.

It is another object of the present invention to provide an article container and dispenser which is inexpensive to manufacture in large quantities, and which can thus be used as a nonreusable item.

It is yet a further object of the present invention to provide an article container and dispenser of the type described which can readily be operated to dispense an article therefrom by utilizing only a single hand, and in which an article can be dispensed into the mouth of the user without the need for handling that article.

It is still another object of the present invention to provide an article container and dispenser for storing a relatively large number of such articles and controllably dispensing said articles, in which the articles are dispensed therefrom in a manner ensuring no breakage of the articles.

The article container and dispenser of the present invention is in the form of a resilient housing normally in a first, closed condition, and deformable upon the application of an external force to a second condition. In the second condition of the housing an opening is produced at one end of the housing. A plurality of articles are stacked within the housing in a stacking member which has an exit station in communication with the housing opening when the latter is produced.

The housing has a first stop member normally extending across the exit station to prevent the escape of the lowermost article from the stacking member when the housing is in its first condition, and a second stop member axially spaced from the first member which is normally positioned away from the stacked articles. These stop members are preferably provided on different walls of the housing. The first stop member is moved away from the exit station when the housing is deformed to its second condition to allow that lowermost article to escape from the stacking member and through the housing opening and the second stop member then moves into a position in which it is interposed intermediate the lowermost article and the remainder of the stacked articles. In this manner all but the lowermost article are retained within the housing when the housing is deformed to its second or articlereleasing condition.

Resilient lip portions extend from the housing walls. These lip portions lie in an engaging or slightly overlapping relationship when the housing is in its normal condition so as to define a closure for the housing. When the housing is deformed to its second condition, the lip portions part and define the housing opening through which the lowermost article is released. The stacking member may be in the form of a relatively rigid tubular member which is operatively connected to the same housing wall as the second stop member.

To the accomplishment of the above, and to such other objects as may hereinafter appear, the present invention relates to an article container and dispenser, as defined in the appended claims and as described in this Specification taken together with the accompanying drawing, in which:

FIG. 1 is a front elevational view of one embodiment of the article container and dispenser of this invention, showing in broken lines the articles stacked in the container housing, and showing, in the dot-dashed lines, the shape of the housing when it is deformed to its article release condition upon the application of an external force thereto;

FIG. 2 is an end view taken along the line 2-2 of FIG. 1 with the lip portions shown partly broken away to reveal the interior of the housing;

FIG. 3 is a view similar to that of FIG. 2 with the container shown in its article release condition;

FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional view taken along the line 4-4 of FIG. 2;

FIG. 5 is a cross-sectional view taken along the line 5-5 of FIG. 3; and

FIG. 6 is a side elevational view, partly broken away, of a second embodiment of the invention.

The article dispenser of the present invention, illustrated in FIGS. l5, comprises a housing generally designated 10 formed from a pair of walls 12 and 14 made of a suitably resilient plastic material and joined together along their edges at 16 and 18. The housing is closed at its upper end, and a pair of resilient lip portions 20 and 22 extend downwardly and inwardly from the lower ends of walls 12 and 14, respectively.

A tubular stacking member generally designated 24 made of a relatively rigid plastic material is secured in any appropriate manner, such as by an adhesive, to the interior of wall 14 and is .adapted to accommodate or store a plurality of articles here shown in the form of stacked pills 26. Stacking member 24 is open at its lower end and there defines an exit station for the tablets 26 contained therein.

Housing 10 is normally in the condition shown in the solid lines in FIGS. 1, 2 and 4, in which lip portions 20 and 22 substantially touch or slightly overlap in a manner effective to define a closure at the lower end of the housing. When it is desired to release or dispense the lowermost pill 26a from the member 24 the housing is grasped along edges 16 and 18 and squeezed between the thumb and fingers as shown in FIG. 1. A compressive force is thus applied to housing 10 to deform the housing to a second or tablet release condition shown in broken lines in FIG. ll, and in solid lines in FIGS. 3 and 5. In this condition, lip portions 20 and 22 are parted and define an opening 27 (FIGS. 3 and at the lower end of housing 10, that opening being in communication with the exit station of stacking member 24.

Means are provided within housing to permit the release of only the lowermost pill 26a through opening 27 and to retain the remaining pills 26 in their stack within member 24 when pill 26a is so released.

To this end a tab 28 is operatively connected to the interior of housing wall 12 and may be formed, if desired, integrally therewith. A pair of fingers 30 and 32 are operatively connected to the interior of housing wall 14 at a location spaced vertically from the location of tab 28 by a distance substantially equal to the height of one of tablets 26. A pair of circumferentially spaced holes 34 and 36 are formed in the casing of stacking member 24 at substantially the same level as the fingers 30 and 32.

When not in use to dispense a tablet, housing 10 is in its normal, undeformed condition, in which, as seen best in FIG. 2, tab 28 extends across the open end of member 24 and engages the free undersurface of lowermost pill 260. The entire stack of pills 26, along with pill 26a, is supported by tab 28 and is thus retained in member 24. For this condition of housing 10, fingers 30 and 32 are disposed laterally outside member 24 and do not contact any of the pills 26.

As stated above, to dispense pill 26a a compressive force is applied to the edges of housing 10 to deform the housing to its tablet release condition in which opening 27 is formed. In this condition of the housing, tab 28 is moved away from its engagement with pill 26a while, at the same time, fingers 30 and 32 are moved inwardly through holes 34 and 36 respectively, and enter into the interior of member 24 at a position intermediate lowermost pill 26a and the remainder of the stacked pills, to engage beneath the next lowermost pill in member 24, that is, that pill in the stack immediately above pill 260. Lowermost pill 26a is thus permitted to escape, while the remaining pills are reliably retained within member 24 by means of fingers 30 and 32.

After a pill has been dispensed in this manner, the compressive force on the housing is released and the housing I0 returns to its normal, closed condition by the inherent resiliency .of the material of which housing 10 is formed (assisted, if necessary or desired, by a spring). Tab 28 once again supports the stack of pills in member 24 and fingers 30 and 32 are again positioned away from the stack of pills.

As seen best in FIGS. 2 and 3, walls 12 and 14 of housing 10, as viewed in plan, define a pair of convex or bowed surfaces extending between the edges 16 and 18. The lip portions and 22 extend downwardly from the lower ends of walls 12 and 14 respectively to meet along a line 29 to define the bot tom closure of housing 10 when the housing is in its normal or closed condition. If desired, and as shown in FIGS. 4 and 5, lip portions 20 and 22 may be slightly bowed or curved rather than linear. The convexly curved housing walls along with the downwardly sloping lip portions define what may be described as a compound curve between the edges 16 and 18 and the closure line 29. It has been found that this compound curve configuration ensures the reliable opening or parting of the lip portions 20 and 22 to define opening 27 each time a compressive force is applied by hand to the edges 16 and 18.

The article container and dispenser illustrated in FIGS. 1 5 is particularly useful as a nonreusable or disposable container of the type which may be discarded by the user after the supply of pills 26 therein has been depleted. To adapt that container for reusable operation, the embodiment of FIG. 6 may be employed. In that embodiment an opening is formed at the upper end of housing 10' in substantial registration with the open upper end of stacking member 24. A closure member such as a plug or cap 38 is snugly inserted into that opening to seal the upper end of member 24. When the supply of pills 26 in member 24 is depleted, cap 38 is removed and the member 24 is filled with a new supply of pills obtained from a larger container.

The article container and dispenser of this invention is effective to reliably store a supply of pills, and to individually dispense one of such pills at a time by the simple operation of squeezing the containers resilient housing. That operation can be readily performed by utilizing only one hand. The release of one pill from the container is simultaneously effective to reliably retain the remaining pills in the housing. This is done in a manner in which neither the dispensed pill nor those retained in the housing are damaged.

The container and dispenser of this invention has no separately moving parts and requires no complex mechanical arrangement to effect the release of an article. The operative parts are simple in design and form and-the entire unit may be readily and economically manufactured in large quantities. Because of the low manufacturing cost the container of this invention may be used as a disposable container, thus obviating the need for transferring a supply of pills from a larger container, such as a bottle, into the container.

While the container has been described for storing and dispensing round, flat pills, it can be readily adapted for use with any shaped article such as a spherical article, or an elongated capsule, simply by varying the vertical spacing between fingers 3t), 32 and tab 28, as well as the location of the holes 34, 36 in stacking member 24 to conform to the vertical distance of the article to be stored and dispensed. Because of the thin nature of the fingers 30 and 32 they interpose themselves between the pills in the stack readily and without damaging the pills. The device of the present invention is thus very well adapted for use withfragile or brittle tablets and even soft and easily ruptured capsules.

While a plurality of embodiments of the present invention have been herein specifically disclosed, it will be apparent that many variations may be made thereto without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention.

I claim:

1. A device for storing and individually dispensing a plurality of articles, said device comprising a housing having a deformable wall, said housing being normally in a first condition and deformable upon an application of an external force to a second condition, said housing having an opening at one end thereof at least when said housing is in said second condition, stacking means in said housing for accommodating a plurality of said articles in a stack leading to an exit station in communication with said opening, said stacking means being spaced from and independent of said deformable wall, first stop means operatively connected to said housing wall extending across said exit station when said housing is in its said first condition, thereby to prevent the lowermost one of said articles in said stack from escaping therefrom, and positioned away from said exit station when said housing is in its said second condition, thereby to permit the release of the lowermost one of said stacked articles through said exit station and said opening, and second stop means operatively connected to said housing wall and spaced above said first stop means in the direction of said stack, said second stop means being disposed away from said stacking means when said housing is in its said first condition and extending into said stacking means at a position intermediate the lowermost one of said stacked articles and the other articles in said stack when said housing is in its said second condition, thereby to prevent said other articles in said stack from escaping therefrom, said housing being deformable from said first to said second condition upon the application thereto of said external force at a first point in a given direction, said first point being spaced from said stacking means in said given direction, both of said stop means moving between their respective operative positions in a direction other than said given direction in response to deformation of said housing wall in said given direction.

2. The device of claim 1, in which said housing comprises first and second resilient walls operatively connected to one another, said first stop means being operatively secured to said first wall, said second stop means being operatively connected to said second wall.

3. The device of claim 1, in which said second stop means comprises a pair of spaced tabs projecting from the interior of said housing, said stacking means comprising a tubular element having a pair of openings formed therein, said tabs extending through said openings into the interior of said tubular element when said housing is in its said second condition.

4. The device of claim 3, in which said first stop means comprises a third tab extending from the interior of said housing.

5. The device of claim 4, in which said third tab is located on said wall at a position intermediate the edges thereof, said external force being adapted to be applied to said edges.

6. A device for storing and individually dispensing a plurality of articles, said device comprising a housing having a deformable wall, said housing being normally in a first condition and deformable upon an application of an external force to a second condition, said housing having an opening at one end thereof at least when said housing is in said second condition, stacking means in said housing for accommodating a plurality of said articles in a stack leading to an exit station in communication with said opening, first stop means operatively connected to said housing wall extending across said exit station when said housing is in its said first condition, thereby to prevent the lowermost one of said articles in said stack from escaping therefrom, and positioned away from said exit station when said housing is in its said second condition, thereby to permit the release of the lowermost one of said stacked articles through said exit station and said opening, and second stop means operatively connected to said housing wall and spaced above said first stop means in the direction of said stack, said second stop means being disposed away from said stacking means when said housing is in its said first condition and extending into said stacking means at a position intermediate the lowermost one of said stacked articles and the other articles in said stack when said housing is in its said second condition, thereby to prevent said other articles in said stack from escaping therefrom, in which said housing comprises first and second resilient walls operatively connected to one another, said first stop means being operatively secured to said first wall, said second stop means being operatively connected to said second wall, and in which said second stop means comprises a pair of spaced tabs projecting from said second wall, said stacking means comprising a tubular element having a pair of openings formed therein, said tabs extending through said openings into the interior of said tubular element when said housing is in its said second condition.

7. The device of claim 6, in which said first stop means comprises a third tab extending from said first wall.

8. The device of claim 7, in which said third tab is located on said first wall at a position intermediate the edges thereof, said external force being adapted to be applied to said edges.

9. The device of claim 8, further comprising first and second lip portions extending from said first and second walls respectively, the free ends of said lip portions lying in adjacent relationship when said housing is in its said first condition, thereby to define an effective closure for said opening when said housing is in its said first condition, said lip portions being moved apart when said housing is in its said second condition.

10. The device of claim 9, in which said housing walls define a pair of convex surfaces extending between said edges and define along with said lip portions a pair of compound curves between said edges and said closure, thereby to ensure the parting of said lip portions from one another whenever a sufficient force is applied to said housing at said edges.

11. A device for storing and individually dispensing a plurality .of articles, said device comprising a housing having a deformable wall, said housing being normally in a first condition and deformable upon an application of an external force to a second condition, said housing having an opening at one end thereof at least when said housing is in said second condition, stacking means in said housing for accommodating a plurality of said articles in a stack leading to an exit station in communication with said opening, first stop means operatively connected to said housing wall extending across said exit station when said housing is in its said first condition, thereby to prevent the lowermost one of said articles in said stack from escaping therefrom, and positioning away from said exit station when said housing is in its said second condition, thereby to permit the release of the lowermost one of said stacked articles through said exit station and said opening, and second stop means operatively connected to said housing wall and spaced above said first stop means in the direction of said stack, said second stop means being disposed away from said stacking means when said housing is in its said first condition and extending into said stacking means at a position intermediate the lowermost one of said stacked articles and the other articles in said stack when said housing is in its said second condition, thereby to prevent said other articles in said stack from escaping therefrom, in which said housing comprises first and second resilient walls operatively connected to one another, said first stop means being operatively secured to said first wall, said second stop means being operatively connected to said second wall, and further comprising first and second lip portions extending from said first and second walls respectively, the free ends of said lip portions lying in adjacent relationship when said housing is in its said first condition, thereby to define an effective closure for said opening when said housing is in its first condition, said lip portions being moved apart when said housing is in its second condition, thereby to define said opening.

12. The device of claim 11, in which said housing walls define a pair of convex surfaces extending between said edges and define along with said lip portions a pair of compound curves between said edges and said closure, thereby to ensure the parting of said lip portions from one another whenever a sufficient force is applied to said housing at said edges.

13. A device for storing and individually dispensing a plurality of articles, said device comprising a housing having a deformable wall, said housing being normally in a first condition and deformable upon an application of an external force to a second condition, said housing having an opening at one end thereof at least when said housing is in said second condition, stacking means in said housing for accommodating a plurality of said articles in a stack leading to an exit station in communication with said opening, first stop means operatively connected to said housing wall extending across said exit station when said housing is in its said first condition, thereby to prevent the lowermost one of said articles in said stack from escaping therefrom, and positioned away from said exit station when said housing is in its said second condition, thereby to permit the release of the lowermost one of said stacked articles through said exit station and said opening, and second stop means operatively connected to said housing wall and spaced above said first stop means in the direction of said stack, said second stop means being disposed away from said stacking means when said housing is in its said first condition and extending into said stacking means at a position intermediate the lowermost one of said stacked articles and the other articles in said stack when said housing is in its said second condition, thereby to prevent said other articles in said stack from escaping therefrom, in which said housing comprises first and second walls, said stacking means and said second stop means being operatively secured to the same one of said walls.

14. The device of claim 13, further comprising first and second lip portions extending from said first and second walls respectively, the free ends of said lip portions lying in adjacent relationship when said housing is in its said first condition, thereby to define an effective closure for said opening when said housing is in its first condition, said lip portions being

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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3877473 *Sep 10, 1973Apr 15, 1975Williams LeslieBingo type chip dispenser
US4905867 *Jun 20, 1988Mar 6, 1990Claassen Henning JDispenser for solid pharmaceutics and edible articles
US5366112 *Apr 12, 1990Nov 22, 1994Patrafico AgTablet dispenser
US7360669Nov 22, 2005Apr 22, 2008Cornell DrajanDispenser for spherical articles
US7451893 *Jul 27, 2004Nov 18, 2008Gerald D MartinFerrule dispenser and ferrule package therefor
US8061586Dec 12, 2006Nov 22, 2011Wm. Wrigley Jr. CompanyComestible product dispensers and methods of making and using same
US8251218Dec 10, 2007Aug 28, 2012Meadwestvaco CorporationContainer with pivoting cover
US9248949Nov 14, 2009Feb 2, 2016Bayer Intellectual Property GmbhCartridge, a pharmaceutical dispenser containing the cartridge, and applications of said cartridge and said pharmaceutical dispenser
US9505544Nov 14, 2009Nov 29, 2016Bayer Intellectual Property GmbhCartridge, medicament dispenser for solid medicament portions, and uses of the cartridge and of the medicament dispenser
US20040182879 *Feb 15, 2002Sep 23, 2004Kingsland Alastair Guy LindenPellet dispensers
US20050173450 *Jan 5, 2005Aug 11, 2005Maskell William J.Confectionary packages and methods for dispensing confectionary products
US20050218198 *Apr 4, 2005Oct 6, 2005Cavero Dio CComestible product dispensers and methods of making and using same
US20050236419 *Apr 22, 2004Oct 27, 2005Jason MoenikeijComestible product dispensers and methods of making and using same
US20060021993 *Jul 27, 2004Feb 2, 2006Martin Gerald DFerrule dispenser and ferrule package therefor
US20060078654 *Oct 8, 2004Apr 13, 2006Kushner Katie JPackage for a consumable product or the like
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US20100084424 *Dec 10, 2007Apr 8, 2010John GelardiContainer with pivoting cover
US20130292403 *May 2, 2012Nov 7, 2013Capsulepen LLCPill Container
DE102008059672A1 *Nov 26, 2008Jul 8, 2010Bayer Schering Pharma AktiengesellschaftCartridge for pharmaceutical dispenser for storage and delivery of e.g. hormone preparation product portion, for contraception, during hormone replacement therapy, has separation device creating operative connection to activation device
EP2548452A1Nov 19, 2007Jan 23, 2013Kraft Foods Global Brands LLCConfectionery compositions uncluding an elstomeric component and a saccharide component
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WO2008073360A3 *Dec 10, 2007Aug 7, 2008Meadwestvaco CorpPackage with pivoting cover
Classifications
U.S. Classification221/14, 221/64, 221/299
International ClassificationB65D83/04
Cooperative ClassificationB65D2583/0431, B65D83/0436
European ClassificationB65D83/04A3