US 3645423 A
A storage container allows a measured quantity of the free-flowing material to be dispensed. In operation, a fulcrum valve in the container closes flow of material between storage and dispensing sections wherein the closing valve acts as a fulcrum to open an outlet from the container located in the dispensing section.
Claims available in
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
lll'nitenl Marten atet [151 aanaam DelGrraW ll elai 2% W72  lFlULICH tUIl/ll VALVE UIISIPLENSHNG 3,179,301 4/l965 Lucht ..222/2l3 @(DNTAHN R FORElGN PATENTS 0R APPUCATIONS 72 l em William E. lllneGraw D b ,C n l 1 or my 0 430,969 8/1967 Switzerland ..222/207  Assignee: General Foods Cornnration, White Plains,
NY. Prirmry Examiner-Stanley 1H1. Tollberg 22 Filed: Mini. 13 E970 Allsistam ExaminerJohn P. Shannon, .lr.
Attorney-Thomas V. Sullivan, Andrew G. Golian and PP 19,361 Michael J. Tully [s2 lJ.S.Cl .222/20'1, 222/21a222/449, 1 WWMCT 222/452 A storage container allows a measured quantity of the freegg 3 g flowing material to be dispensed. lln operation, a fulcrum valve 1 m mm: l 21 in the container closes flow of material between storage and 56] megmmms (med dispensing SBClllOllS wherein the closmg valve acts as a fulcrum to open an outlet from the container located in the dispensing section.
133 Claima, 4 Drawing Figures PATENTEUFEB29 I972 W f I In WW! I Ill/ 1 I INVIz'N'l'OR.
BY WILLIAM E, DE GRAW y ATTORNEY FUL Clilllll l VALVE lDllSlPlEl ldllNG (ZUNTAINEIR BACMGRUUND OF THE INVENTION The present invention deals with the dispensing of a measured quantity of free-flowing material such as liquid or powder, or a combination of the two materials. The present invention relies upon the concept that a fulcrum valve, located in the container, allows a normal free-flowing of material between storage and dispensing sections, but on closure of the fulcrum valve, an outlet in the dispensing section opens such that a measured quantity of material escapes.
The prior art is replete with dispensing devices wherein valve means are employed. However, the prior art suffers from many disadvantages, including difficulty of operation, clogging of the valve means and excessive cost in manufacture.
Tro er, US. Pat. No. 2,219,604, issued Oct. 29, 194-0, is directed to the dispensing of tooth paste, shaving cream, lotions and similar substances. His dispensing device is operated by the application and release of pressure upon a resilient member which draws material into the dispensing device from a storage container and the material is expelled therefrom through a discharge opening in the device. However, as the patentee sets forth, his device is, in reality, a pump wherein finger pressure is required to prime the pump as well as force the discharge material from a hollow member with two integral chambers. Thus, the collapse of the resilient member by finger pressure causes material to be forced from the device.
Crane, US. Pat. No. 2,438,854, issued Nov. 22, 1949, is directed to a device for dispensing comminutecl materials such as salt. The dispensing container is normally hermetically sealed against moisture. In use, yieldable arm portions on the outside and on opposite sides of the container opening are pressed against the container to facilitate distension of an opening for removal of a portion of the comminuted contents in the dispenser by gravity.
Willets, lr., US. Pat. No. 3,224,650, issued Dec. 21, 1965, teaches a combination container and metering device for use with dry granular or powdered material and for dispensing measured amounts of such material. The patentee employs a fulcrum valve, but the patented device suffers from disadvantages in that a doubled walled vessel is needed and that the patented device is limited only to employment of dry granular or powdered material. The container comprises an outer shell and an inner shell, both shells made of resilient, synthetic organic polymer. The function of the outer shell is for supporting ribs which act as a fulcrum valve as well as for support of a single chambered inner shell which acts as both a storage area and a dispensing area. In operation, ribs making up the fulcrum valve means are pressed together to contact and close a portion of the inner shell. At the same time, the ribs, acting as a fulcrum, allow an outlet at the bottom of the inner shell to open and dispense a measured amount of material. When pressure is released from the ribs, the inner shell outlet closes, allowing comminuted material to flow towards the closed outlet inner shell and replenish the bottom section of the inner shell.
BRIEF SUMMARY UP THE TNVENTION A free-flowing material is dispensed in a measured quantity from the fulcrum dispenser container of this invention. The invention allows continued additions of a uniform measured quantity in employing the dispensing device. This device is structured such that it contains a storage section with a separate dispensing section. Between the storage and dispensing sections is a fulcrum valve means, which in normal operation, is in an open position to allow a free flow of material between the two sections. In operation, pressure is applied external of the storage section, the fulcrum valve closes, which in turn forces an outlet in the dispensing section to open. The material, upon opening of the outlet, flows from the discharge section in a measured amount. Upon release of external pressure in the storage area, the outlet in the dispensing section ill closes and the fulcrum valve opens to its normal position. This opening of the fulcrum valve allows the free-flowing material from the storage section to be introduced into the dispensing section. Thus, in operation, continued cycles result in dispensing of the material, the external. pressure in the storage area dispensing a measured quantity of material with pressure release resulting in refilling of the dispensing section.
This invention is considered an improvement over il/illets, J r., US. Pat. No. 3,224,650, because a fulcrum valve is used in both inventions. However, the operation of the fulcrum valve differs, since in Willets, Jr., the valve means are external to storage and dispensing sections while in the present case the valve means internally separate the storage and dispensing sections. in the present case, many new distinct advantages exist which lend to the unobvious novelty. For example, the dispensing container may be used with any free-flowing material, most specifically, free flowing powders and liquids. An additional advantage of the container is that it may he inexpensively manufactured at a low unit unit cost. The container may be molded into a one-piece device by use of suitable resilient materials such as tlierrnosetting and thermoplastic materials. An additional advantage of the present invention is that few moving parts are employed such that case of opera tion is obtained as well as essentially foolproof operation. With proper fluidity of dispensed material, no clogging or malfunctioning of the dispenser should occur.
DETMLED DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES AND INVENTION Objects, advantages and application of the present invention will become apparent from the following detailed description of the drawings in the operation of the dispensing device:
IFIGS. l through 4 are front sectional views of the dispensing container in operation.
FIG. l is a front sectional view of the container in a charged position ready for use.
FIG. 2 is a front sectional view of the container when external pressure is initially applied.
FIG. 3 is a front sectional view of the container with the device in operation dispensing a measured quantity of material.
FIG. 4 is a front sectional view of the: device after use and in process of refilling the dispensing section.
Referring to the figures shown in the drawings, the invention will be described in specific detail. The body llll comprises an upper section 112 which is a storage section, and a lower section l3 which is a dispensing section. The body may be made of any flexible resilient material. The more suitable materials may be therrnosetting or thermoplastic materials which are well known in the art. Suitable materials, include synthetic rubbers, nylon, polyethylene, polypropylene, etc. However, any material, including metal, may be employed as long as it possesses resilient, flexing qualities. The storage and dispensing sections are separated by fulcrum valve means 5 which separate the storage section from the dispensing section. Illustrative of the fulcrum valve means is a projecting member or rib. Preferably, this projecting rib has a concave portion '7 and a convex portion ti which insure complete sealing when the valve is employed. Normally, the fulcrum valve is in an open position so that a free-flowing material is introduced between the storage and dispensing sections. At one end of the dispensing section is a normally closed outlet 9. This outlet may comprise a concave portion ill and convex portion l2 to insure sealing against leakage.
For ease of operation, on the external surface of the storage section of the body may be gripping means to facilitate ease of operation of the disclosed invention. Such gripping means are illustrated as ll, wherein indentations in the body wall are shown. However, instead of indentations, projections from the wall may be made which also facilitate ease of operation.
For operation, the container is initially filled through an inlet (not shown) preferably in the storage section. The free flowing material that is introduced into the container fills both the storage and dispensing areas, since the fulcrum valve is in normal open operation. Thus, the free-flowing material completely fills the dispensing section of the container. For operation, external pressure is applied to the body in the storage section so that the fulcrum valve may be operated which results in a measured quantity of free-flowing material being dispensed. External pressure on area 21 initially closes the fulcrum valve 5 as shown in FIG. 2. This closing of the fulcrum valve prevents a free flow of material between the storage and dispensing sections. Further pressure on area 21, shown in FIG. 3, causes a lever effect wherein the closing of the fulcrum valve causes the outlet 9 in the dispensing section B3 to open. Thus, the material in the dispensing section flows in a measured quantity from the container.
Upon the release of external pressure on areas 21, shown in FIG. 4, the outlet 9 in the dispensing section closes and the fulcrum valve 5 opens to its normal position. Material contained in the storage section 12 flows through the open fulcrum valve to fill the dispensing section 13. Thus, the dispensing container may be subsequently used again to release a measured quantity of the free flowing material.
From above description of the invention, it may be seen that the fulcrum valve and its operation is critical to the disclosed invention. it will be realized that fulcrum valve means, as employed herein, refers to a support member designed to act as a lever wherein the support member defines an opening. Pressure external and adjacent to the support member defining the opening forces the support member to close the opening. Additionally, external pressure on the support member causes the support to act as a lever to operate an additional separate closure which serves as a dispenser outlet. Thus, pressure external to the fulcrum support member serves two separate valve functions; namely, closing the opening which the fulcrum support member defines, and opening a closure downstream to the fulcrum support member.
in the description of the apparatus, pressure to operate the dispenser is applied external to the storage section (as area 22), since the amount of pressure is minimized to operate and perform all functions of the fulcrum valve means. In other words, at least a component of the external pressure should be at the storage section. In the instant invention, the operation of the disclosed apparatus differs over prior art dispensers employing fulcrum valve means. Most specifically, the prior art drawn to Willets, J11, US. Pat. No. 3,224,650, requires external pressure at his ribs which make up his fulcrum valve means. The reason this pressure is applied directly on the ribs of Willets, Jr. is that his fulcrum valve means are external to the storage and dispensing areas. in the instant invention, the fulcrum valve means separate the storage and dispensing areas internally and not externally, therefore, operation of the ful crum valve differs.
in the description of the apparatus of the disclosed invention, gravity has been employed both in filling the dispensing section and allowing a measured quantity of material to escape this dispensing section. However, it is within the scope of this invention to employ the free-flowing material in the storage section under a slight amount of pressure. Thus, the pressurized material may be employed without the utilization of gravity. The upper limit of pressurized material utilized is dependent upon the tightness of fit of both the dispensing valve means and the closure means in the dispensing section.
While there has been described what is a preferred embodiment of the invention, it will be obvious to those of ordinary skill in the art that various changes, additions and modifications may be made without departing from the scope of the in vention. For example, membrane means may seal the closed outlet in the dispensing section prior to initial use. It is, therefore, considered that the following claims cover all changes and modifications that fall within the spirit and scope of the invention.
What is claimed is:
l. A container for dispensing measured amounts of freeflowing materials comprising a hollow body of resilient materia1 having a single walled construction and divided into two sections: a first storage section; a second dispensing section; a normally closed outlet in said dispensing section wherein w d closed outlet is an integral part of said hollow body; and fulcrum valve means in the interior of said hollow body between the storage and dispensing sections, said fulcrum valve means comprising ribs protruding from the hollow body, said ribs adapted to contact and separate material contained in the container but in a normal open position allowing a free flow of material between said storage and dispensing section, said ribs closing when pressure is applied on an external surface of said hollow body in the storage section wherein the closing of the ribs acts as a fulcrum valve resulting in the opening of the outlet in the dispensing section.
2. The container of claim 1 wherein said ribs contain concave and convex portions to insure sealing of said fulcrum valve means upon the application of external pressure on said storage section of the hollow body.
3. The container of claim 1 wherein at least a portion of said protruding ribs facing the storage section slopes away from the sidewall of said storage section.
4. The container of claim 1 wherein said outlet in the dispensing section has concave and convex portions to insure sealing when the outlet is in a closed position.
5. The container of claim 41 wherein the area surrounding said outlet slopes away from the sidewalls of said dispensing section to insure that all material from said dispensing area escapes upon the opening of said outlet.
6. The container of claim ll wherein said dispensing section is of substantially smaller volume than said storage section.
7. The container of claim 1 wherein means are provided on the external container body of the first storage area for gripping said container and for operating said fulcrum valve means.
8. A container for dispensing measured amounts of freeflowing materials, comprising a free-standing, single-walled body with a first section containing a wall wherein the exterior of the wall is self-supportable with the wall interior defining a chamber, said chamber adapted to store materials such that said materials contact said wall interior; a second section defining a dispensing area, said second section comprising a wall wherein the exterior of the wall is self-supportable, the exterior of the second section wall being contiguous with the first wall section such that the exterior walls function as a unit for support to make the exterior of said container; an outlet in said second section, said outlet being closed without the application of external pressure; and fulcrum valve means, said fulcrum means comprising ribs protruding from the wall interior of said container, said ribs defining an opening between the interior of said first and second sections, said ribs acting to seal the interior between the first and second sections when pressure is applied at the exterior walls of said first section such that said ribs close wherein the closure acts as a fulcrum to allow the outlet in the second section to open and dispense a measured amount of the free-flowing material.
9. The container of claim 8 wherein said protruding ribs contain concave and convex portions to insure sealing of said fulcrum means upon the application of external pressure.
10. The container of claim 3 wherein at least a portion of said protruding ribs facing the first section slopes away from said first section.
11. The container of claim 8 wherein at least a portion of container surrounding the outlet slopes toward said outlet to insure that all material contained in said dispensing section may escape.
12. The container of claim 8 wherein said storage area is of substantially larger volume than said dispensing area.
13. The container of claim 8 wherein means are provided on the external container body of said first storage section for gripping said container and for operating said fulcrum valve means.