US 3604559 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent Calvin W. McCall Roanoke;
Robert C. McDonald, Vinton, both of, Va. 866,450
Oct. 15, 1969 Sept. 14, 1971 Eli Lilly and Company Indianapolis, Ind.
Inventors Appl. No. Filed Patented Assignee MULTILAYER DISPENSER FOR PILLS 4 Claims, 4 Drawing Figs.
U.S. Cl 206/42 865d 83/04 Field of Search 206/42  References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,261,455 7/1966 Gayle et a1 206/42 3,227,127 1/1966 Gayle 206/42 Primary Examiner-Leonard Summer Attorneys- Everet F. Smith and Houston L. Swenson ABSTRACT: The invention relates to a pill dispenser having a plurality of pill compartments arranged in layers. The layers are relatively rotatable on a common axis and are provided with multiple position clutch means for aligning the compartments of preceding layers on repeated advancement of the top layer relative to the bottom layer as the pills are dispensed in sequence.
PATENTEDSEPI 4'91: 3,604,559
SHEET 1 [IF 2 INVENTORS CALVIN W. M CALL ROBERT C MD NALD BY ATTORNEY PATENTED SEP] 4 mm sum 2 OF 2 INVENTORS CALVIN W. M CALL ROBERT C. M DONALD ATTORNEY BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION ;.Itj isfrequently desirable tohave a dispenser'whi'ch'wilicon tain a number of pills in individual compartments whereby the pills'.d0.n0t contact each other; This is particularly true in some medicaments where pills are extremely fragile and will be' likelyto crumble ifperrnitted to freely move againsteach other Another advantage for individual pill compartments is the ease in dispensing single pills. However; in constructing such isolated compartments'the containers generally become rather'large. They are often too cumbersome to carry in one s pocket or purse, unless they are built to hold only a small number of pills,-such as 20 or 30. It is therefore apparent'that theideal pill dispenser or container is one which is extremely compact inside but still securely holds a large number of pills which do not rattle .within the container and which also do not rattle against each other.
US. Pat. No. 3,261,455 discloses a multilayerdispenser for pills in which the bores or pill compartments of 'eac'h' layer'are selectively aligned upon repeated advancement of the 'top layer relative to the bottom layer. However, the illustrated'embodiment of US. Pat. No. 3,261,455 discloses atwo-position clutch means which requires increased energy for aligning each layer with the preceding layers. Although such an arrangement is satisfactory, it has been determined that this increased energy feature can be objectionable to invalids and others having subnormal strength in their fingers.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The dispenser of this invention differs from that of US Pat. No. 3,261,455 by providing a multiple-clutch means which only requires a uniform amount of energy for aligning each layer with preceding layers.
Our pill dispenser comprises multiple layers in which a large number of pills may be stored without causing damage to them. Each layer is provided with a plurality of compartments for containing a predetermined number of pills. The layers are stacked and serve to cooperate with each other in keeping the individual pills substantially isolated. The stacked layers are capped by a cover having a small opening for dispensing only one pill at a time.
It is therefore one object of this invention to provide a new and improved pill dispenser having separated pill compartments. Another object of this invention is to provide a new and improved pill dispenser which holds a large number of pills in a stable and isolated relationship with each other. Another object of this invention is to provide a new and improved pill dispenser which is exceptionally compact and yet contains a large number of pills. Another object of this invention is to provide a novel dispenser which may be readily operated to dispense a predetermined number of pills.
Other objects and advantages of this invention will be apparent ,on reading the specification in connection with the drawing.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING FIG. 1 represents an exploded perspective view of the pill dispenser of this invention; 1
FIG. 2 is a top plan view of the pill'dispenser partially exploded with its layers inthe first position;
FIG. 3 is a top plan view of the layers of the pill dispenser of FIG. 2 in their second position; and
FIG. 4 is a top plan view of the pill dispenser partially exploded with its layers in their third position.
DESCRIPTIONOF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT The illustrated pill dispenser of this invention is circular and is adapted for containing 63 pills in isolated relationship. However, it will be apparent from the following description that Y the pilldispenser may be enlarged or reduced with respect to thenumberofpills it may contain. 7 x
' Referring to FIG. 1, it is to be noted that the particular pill dispenser has three layers and is" formed 'from only four" dif- "'feren'tpartsfGoing from top to bottom of FIG. l, the dispenser comprises a cover 11, a first "layer 13, a second layer'lS, and a third layer 17. The thickness of each layer may be identicaland need be no more than the thickness of the pill to be contained. v 1
One advantage of this invention is that'all of the elements of the dispenser may be formed from a plastic material such as polystyrene or polypropylene. Mass production is readily obtained through standard plastic injection molding techniqu es. Referring to the annular cover 11, whichmay be of transparent material, a viewing window 18 may beformed to magnifythe days of the week printed on the f rst layer 13. An opening 19 is formed in cover 11 which is dimensioned for passing only one pill at a time. A snap-out tab 20is removed when the first pill is to*be removed. Cover 11 is of circular configuration and has a flange 22 extending about its periphery. Flange 22 has three ratchets 23 on its edge which effect unidirectional movement of cover 11. On the inner surface of cover 11 is a tapered hub '24 having'a bore 25. An arrow 26, visible from the exterior, indicates the proper direction'to turn the cover.
The first layer 13 is of substantially circular configuration and of a diameter approximately equalto that of cover fl. Layer 13 has a flange 27 extendingdownwardly around its perimeter which serves as an enclosure wall for the dispenser. A ratcheted shoulder 28 is also providedabout theperiph'ery of the first layer for engagement with ratchets'23'of cover 111. This ratcheted shoulder 28 has a ratchet or niche of each of the pill compartments 29 which are spaced about the periphery of layer 13. Pill compartments 29 comprise apertures or bores extending through layer Band in the particular illustration are of circular configuration to receive diskshaped pills. While 21 pill compartments are shown, other quantities may also be used. Retaining elements 31 of layer 13 are adapted to engage other elements of the dispenser and maintain them in an assembled position.
Extending from shoulder 28 of layer 13 is an actuating or shifting lever 33. An indexing pointer 35 also extends from shoulder 28. On the underneath surface of shoulder 28 a ratchet tooth 34 is provided. Extending downwardly from the inner surface of the annular first layer 13 is a cylindrical pin 36 which comprises one element of a two-position clutch means cooperating with the second layer 15. p
The second layer 15 may be annular and is provided witha similar number of pill compartments 29. As is the case for the compartments in the first layer, the pill compartments in the second layer comprise bores or apertures. 0n the inside perimeter of layer 15 an elongated cutout 37 is provided with ends 38a and 38b which serves as the other element forming the two-position clutch means with the cylindrical pin 36 on the first layer. Diametrically opposite cutout 37 is" a second cu} tout having a pair of rounded recesses 39a and 39b. These two recesses define one element of a two-position clutch means cooperating between the second layer and third layer 17.
The third layer 17 is also annular and, for simplicityin molding, may be formed integrally with a base element or platform 44. Similar to the first and second layer, the third layer 17 has an equal number of pill compartments which are formed from apertures or bores 29 which do not extend therethrough since the third layer also serves as the'base of the dispenser.
A cylindrical pin 41 which extends upwardly serves as the other element for the two-position clutch means between the second and third layers. Thus, pin 41 is of an appropriate diameter and position to snugly fit into either of therecesses sure proper rotative alignment between the second and third layers. At the 9 o'clock position of the third layer, three ratchet detents 45a, 45b, and 450 are formed in a raised ring 46. As shown in FIG. 1, these are positioned for engagement with ratchet 34 on the first layer which has its flange 27 telescoped about ring 46.
On one comer of the base portion 44 are the numerals l 2 and 3" which are positioned for indicating in conjunction with the pointer means 35 which layer of pills is being consumed. The arrow 48 on an adjacent corner of base 44 indicates that lever 33 is to be shifted in a counterclockwise direction for advancing from one layer to another. A connecting hub 49 is employed to secure the four elements of the dispenser together.
' In assembling the dispenser, layer is positioned on layer 17 with the rounded cutout 39b in contact with pin 41 whereby the pill compartments 29 of the two layers are in alignment. The top layer 13 is then positioned over the other two layers with pointer 35 registered with numeral 3 of the third layers base 44. Retaining clips 31 on layer 13 are forced over hub 49 of layer 17 until they snap under two small lips 50 in a rotatable relationship (FIG. 3). Inasmuch as the pill compartments of all three layers are aligned, 63 pills may be stacked in the 21 bores. Tapered hub 24 of cover 11 may then be forced over hub 49 to provide a rotatable connection therewith. Before the dispenser is packaged'for distribution, lever 33 is shifted in a clockwise direction to position the reference pointer 35 on numeral 1, thereby positioning the dispenser for consumption of pills in the first layer (FIG. 2).
The patient, prior to taking the first pill, breaks out the liftout tab thereby exposing the first pill. When the second pill is to be taken, cover 11 is rotated clockwise to expose the adjacent pill. This operation is repeated until all 21 pills have been removed. To take the first pill in the second layer 15, lever 33 is advanced counterclockwise one position until reference means 35 is aligned with numeral 2 (FIG. 3). Advancement of lever 33 on the first layer causes its cylindrical pin 36 to travel from end 38a to end 38b of cutout 37. In this manner pill compartments of the first two layers become aligned and pills may be removed from the second layer by rotating cover 11. It is to be noted that inadvertent premature advancement of the first layer with respect to the second layer is prevented by the cooperation of ratchet tooth 34 on layer 13 with the first detent 45a on layer 17. When the dispenser is positioned for removal of pills from the second layer, ratchet tooth 34 is tracked over to detent 45b. To obtain pills from the third layer, lever 33 is again advanced counterclockwise to align reference 35 with numeral 3. As lever 33 is advanced the second layer is rotated by the cooperating clutch means of pin 36 against end 38b of cutout 37. This advancement causes ratchet 34 to travel from detent 45b to detent 45c. In addition, the rounded clutch'element cutout 39b is advanced counterclockwise tocome in contact with the cylindrical pin clutch element 41 (FIG. With the pill compartment bores now in alignment in all three layers, pills from the third layer may be removed.
Additional layers may be added to the dispenser of this invention by nesting them within the top layer and providing ratchet means similar to ratchet 34 for cooperation with other sets of detents formed in the bottom layer. In this manner each additional layer may utilize rounded cutouts 39a and 39b of equal dimension thereby avoiding the necessity of increased energy for advancing from one layer to the next.
1. In a pill dispenser having a minimum of three rotatable layers with each of said layers defining a plurality of bores adapted for containing pills, each layer being slidable to the extent of assuming only two relative positions with adjacent layers, the improvement comprising the bottom layer of said pill dispenser having a multiple position clutch means comprising a plurality of detents selectively engageable with com plementary clutch means on said top layer comprising a ratchet tooth, an additional two-position clutch means provided for each combination of pairs of adjacent layers, said bores of adjacent layers being offset on the first clutch position and ali ned on the second clutch position whereb the bores of eac layer from top to bottom are aligned wit the bores of all succeeding layers on repeated advancement of the top layer relative to the bottom layer.
2. A pill dispenser as defined in claim 1 in which the bottom layer is the third layer with said multiple-position clutch means comprising three detents. v
3. A pill dispenser as defined in claim 2 in which said twoposition clutch means between said top and second layers comprises a pin selectively positioned at either end of an elongated cutout in said second layer.
4. A pill dispenser as defined in claim 3 in which said twoposition clutch means between said second layer and said third layer comprises a cutout having a pair of recesses in said second layer selectively engaged with a pin extending from said third layer.