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Publication numberUS3651993 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateMar 28, 1972
Filing dateApr 13, 1970
Priority dateApr 13, 1970
Publication numberUS 3651993 A, US 3651993A, US-A-3651993, US3651993 A, US3651993A
InventorsFrank Venus Jr
Original AssigneeRisdon Mfg Co
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Aerosol dispensing cap with tamper-resistant actuator
US 3651993 A
A one-piece molded plastic overcap and actuator assembly of inverted cuplike configuration is provided for a valved aerosol dispenser having an axially projecting valve stem at one end, wherein the actuator comprises an integrally hinged elongated tab partially cut from the bottom wall of the cup, the tab having a free-flexing end and a valve stem receiving socket adjacent that end at the underside, with an internal passage connecting the socket to a lateral discharge orifice in the tab. An integrally hinged pawl is formed on one of the overcap and actuator members, and a receiving notch for the pawl is let into the surface of the other to provide a ratchet which, when engaged, blocks movement of the actuator in the valve-operating direction. The pawl is normally biased by its hinge connection to nonengaging position relative to the notch and must be manually flexed into notch-engaging position.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent Venus, Jr.

1451 Mar. 28, 1972 1221 Filed:


[73] Assignee:

Frank Venus, Jr., Watertown, Conn.

The Rlsdon Manulacturing Company, Naugatuck, Conn.

Apr. 13, 1970 [21] Appl.No.: 27,672

[52] US. Cl. ..222/153, 222/182, 222/402.1 l [5 1] Int. Cl ..'....B65d 83/ 14 [58] Field of Search ..222/1 82, 402.11, 402.13, 402.12,

3,006,510 10/1961 Sagarin .II222/402I11 x Primary Examiner-Samuel F. Coleman Assistant ExaminerThomas E. Kocovsky Anomey-Steward & Steward [57] ABSTRACT A one-piece molded plastic overcap and actuator assembly of inverted cuplike configuration is provided for a valved aerosol dispenser having an axially projecting valve stem at one end, wherein the actuator comprises an integrally hinged elongated tab partially cut from the bottom wall of the cup, the tab having a free-flexing end and a valve stem receiving socket adjacent that end at the underside, with an internal passage connecting the socket to a lateral discharge orifice in the tab. An integrally hinged pawl is formed on one of the overcap and actuator members, and a receiving notch for the pawl is let into the surface of the other to provide a ratchet which, when engaged, blocks movement of the actuator in the valve-operating direction. The pawl is normally biased by its hinge connection to nonengaging position relative to the notch and must be manually flexed into notch-engaging position.

7 Claims, 10 Drawing Figures PATENTEUMAR28 I972 3,651,993

sum 1 [1F 2 FIG. 2



FIG. 6


FIG. 9

AEROSOL DISPENSING CAP WITH TAMPER- RESISTANT ACTUATOR This invention relates to a dispensing cap for an aerosol container and, more particularly, to an integral molded plastic overcap and valve operating actuator equipped with a locking arrangement to provide a tamper-resistant closure device. The construction of the one-piece cap and actuator of this invention is such that when the actuator is in the locked condition, the valve cannot be either intentionally or accidentally operated until the actuator is first manually placed in an operative or unlocked condition.

One of the problems attending the shipment, storage and customer handling of loaded aerosol containers is that of providing a closure device which facilitates authorized, intentional dispensing of the fluid contents while discouraging unintentional or unauthorized operation. Such arrangement is not only desirable to discourage testing by customers of dispensers placed on market shelves, but to make it difficult or impossible for young children upon getting access to the dispenser in the home to operate it and cause possible injury to themselves or to surrounding objects. If the device must be manually conditioned to render it operative before the contents can be dispensed, it has been found that this will usually deter most individuals from casually or accidentally doing so. Furthermore, it is highly desirable to protect the aerosol container from accidental or inadvertent discharge of the liquid during stacking or transporting of such container from one area to another. In the past attempts have been made to protect against this latter type of accidental or inadvertent discharge by providing a suitably shaped overcap having a recessed area for the actuating member surrounded by an elevated peripheral ridge or shelf on the cap. Such overcaps are designed with the idea that they will guard against accidental discharge of the containers when flat based objects such as other containers are placed on top, by limiting contact to the peripheral ridge only. Such cap designs however offer only a limited type of protection since objects having other than flat surfaces, as hand tools, etc., or even containers which become tilted, may not be prevented by the raised peripheral ridge from depressing the actuator member and dispensing the aerosol product. In addition, overcap and actuator constructions of this type do not of course prevent customer testing nor stop children from dispensing the project at will.

The prior art is replete with devices utilizing various locking means for physically preventing movement of the actuator. Such locking means include the use of integrally molded frangible webs that are broken by initial depression of the actuating member, or small removable locking members which are held in a predetermined locking position to prevent movement of the actuating member. While these arrangements are suitable for preventing accidental discharge of aerosol containers prior to the initial operation of the valve, they offer no protection against subsequent accidental or unauthorized operation.

ln general, the invention here disclosed relates to a onepiece overcap-actuator combination in which the actuator is an elongated tab member free at one end but integrally and flexibly united at its other end to the cap body. The tab is provided on the undersurface adjacent its free end with the usual socket for fitted reception therein of a projecting valve stem of the aerosol container when the cap is assembled to it, and there is the usual discharge orifice and communicating passage in the tab from the orifice to the socket. Depression of the free end of the actuator tab causes the valve stem to be depressed, opening the valve and allowing aerosol product to be discharged from the orifice.

So much of the construction is conventional and the present invention is directed to means for preventing accidental or unauthorized dispensing of aerosol product from an aerosol container to which the overcap-actuator device of this invention is attached. More specifically, the invention is characterized by the provision of an integrally hinged pawl on one of said body and tab members and a receiving notch let into the surface of the other in position to receive and retain the pawl,

thereby to lock the actuator tab against movement in the direction to open the aerosol valve. The pawl is normally biased by its hinge connection so as to lie in nonengaging relation to the notch, and is freely flexible upon depressing the actuator tab to permit normal operation of the dispenser. To prevent such normal operation, the pawl must be manually flexed to position it for entry into the receiving notch, and when thus conditioned, mutually engaging faces on the pawl and notch form a ratchet which locks the tab against further downward movement. The device can be quickly conditioned for normal operation of the dispenser simply by lifting the free end of the actuator tab sufficiently to allow the pawl to come out of engagement with the receiving notch and return to its normal nonengaging position. The locking mechanismis resettable any number of times, even after it has been initially put into operative position by the consumer, and is particularly useful for dispensing containers exposed to unauthorized use, as by children in a home.

For a fuller understanding of the nature and general features of this invention, reference is made to the following detailed description taken in connection with the accompanying drawings in which,

FIG. 1 is a front perspective view of an aerosol dispenser including an integral overcap and actuator, the actuator being shown in locked position;

FIG. 2 is a top plan view of the dispenser in FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a sectional view taken on line 3-3 of FIG. 2, the actuator being shown however in unlocked or operative position;

FIG. 4 is a fragmentary view in cross section, similar to FIG. 3, illustrating the manner of manually engaging the actuator lock;

FIG. 5 is a fragmentary sectional view similar to FIG. showing the manner of disengaging the actuator lock;

FIG. 6 is a fragmentary front view of a modified form of actuator locking arrangement;

FIGS. 7 and 8 are fragmentary side views, partly in section, of the actuator locking arrangement seen in FIG. 6, showing the actuator in locked and unlocked con iition, respectively; and

FIGS. 9 and 10 are top plan views of overcap-actuator devices incorporating auxiliary locking means.

With reference to FIG. 1, the embodiment of the invention specifically illustrated is a one-piece molded plastic dispensing cap 10 which is mounted on the valved end of a typical aerosol container 12. As seen more particularly in FIG. 3, a valve assembly 14 is secured in the tiller opening provided in top wall 16 of container 12, and a tubular valve stem 18 projects axially upward above the upper end of the dispensing container. The container and valve arrangement thus far described are conventional and any appropriate form of valve having a tubular stem, which when reciprocated axially will open and close the valve to allow aerosol product to discharge through the stem, may be employed. A number of such valves are wellknown and commercially available.

A dispenser 10 includes a cap body member 20 which takes the general form of an inverted cup having side wall 22 and an end or bottom wall 24. In addition, cap body 20 is provided with a cylindrical inner wall 26'coaxial with outer wall 22. Inner wall 26 in this instance is employed to lock cap 20 to the dispensing container 12, this being accomplished by means of a retaining lip 28 on the lower edge of wall 26 which grips beneath rim 30 of the valve mounting cup by which the valve assembly 14 is secured in the filler opening of the top wall of the container. Outer wall 22 of cap assembly 20 constitutes a generally smooth but inwardly tapered extension of the sidewall of the container, with the lower edge of the cap being seated in the annular recess formed adjacent chine 32 of the container.

Cap body 20 is formed with a curved reentrant surface 34 intersecting the side and end walls to form a flared opening for discharge of aerosol product. At its intersection with end wall 24, curved reentrant surface 34 is substantially tangent to the point of intersection of the projected valve stem axis and the cap end wall. End wall 24 and the contiguous portion of the reentrant surface 34 are slotted along three sides, as at 36, to form an elongated actuator tab 40. Tab 40 is hingedly joined along its remaining edge, as at 42, to the sidewall of the cap body opposite reentrant surface 34, but otherwise forms a loose, conforming fit in the access opening formed by slots 36.

Tab 40 is thus free for limited flexural movement transversely of end wall 24, and at its free end has a laterally exposed face 46 which is positioned closely adjacent valve stem 18. A discharge orifice 48 opens onto face 46 being connected internally of the tab by a passage (not shown) which leads into a valve stem receiving socket 52 formed in the hub on the underside of tab 40. (See FIG. 3.) Depression of tab 40 adjacent its unhinged end will thus serve to depress valve stem 14 and allow aerosol product to be discharged through the stern and out through discharge orifice 48 of the dispenser.

In order to prevent operation of the dispenser, interengaging means are provided on the cap body and actuator tab members. Such means, when in engaged position, constitute a lock or ratchet positively resisting depression of tab 40 relative to cap body 20. In the embodiment shown in FIGS. 3-5, the locking means comprises a pair of hinged pawls 50 integrally molded to the inner wall 26 to extend transversely of tab 40 at substantially diametrically opposed positions on the cap body, and a pair of cooperating notches 52 let into the under edge of lateral face 46 of tab 40, in position to accept the hinged portions of pawls 50. Pawls 50 and notches 52 have mutually inclined surfaces such that when the pawl members are manually displaced upward (FIG. 4) they first cam tab 40 upwardly and then drop into notches 52. They are retained in engagement with the notches by the downward return of tab 40 to its normal position; i.e., where its upper surface forms a smooth continuation of the upper surface of cap body 20. Tab 40 has a natural tendency to return to this position by reason of the biasing effect of its hinge 42 produced by molding the tab in this position. Thus tab 40 is positively blocked against downward flexing movement, that is, movement in the direction required to open the dispensing valve.

In order to put dispensing cap in operative condition, all that is required is to manually lift the free end of tab 40 a distance sufficient to disengage pawls 50 from their receiving notches 52. This is illustrated in FIG. 5, and as soon as pawls 50 clear the bottoms of notches 52, the hinged portions of the pawls snap back to their nonengaging position under the influence of the bias imparted by their hinges, again produced by reason of molding the pawls in this position.

The unlocking operation can be effected automatically, if desired, by placing a strip of pressure sensitive adhesive tape 54 across end wall 24 so as to adhere both to tab 40 as well as to opposite portions of end wall 24, as shown in FIG. 9. This serves both as a temporary restraint preventing inadvertent upward movement of the tab, and also as a means for unlocking the pawls when the tape is lifted by the user since adhesion of the tape to the actuator tab will cause it to be lifted also. An alternative arrangement is shown in FIG. 10 in which the tape 54'is passed under the actuator tab. This version has the advantage of supplementing the locking of the tab against downward movement and makes unauthorized use of the dispenser somewhat more difficult without unreasonably interfering with proper use of the dispenser.

Another arrangement for locking the actuator tab against normal operation of the aerosol valve is illustrated in FIGS. 6-8. Dispenser assembly 110 again consists of a cap body 120 having an integrally hinged tab 140, similar to the arrangement first described. The interengaging or locking means in this instance comprises pawls 150 which are integrally hinged to the forward edge of the access opening formed by slots 136 defining the tab, and by cooperating notches or sockets 152 let into the face 146 of tab 140 at the lower corners thereof. Pawls 150 extend lengthwise of tab 140 and are molded so as normally to underlie the tab, in which condition they are readily flexible downward with depression of the tab during the normal operation of the dispenser. In order to lock the actuator tab against valve operation, pawls 150 are manually lifted into engagement with sockets 152, momentarily camming or lifting tab upward slightly until the tips of the pawls pass into the sockets and become trapped. Pawls thus act as strut members between the forward edge of the actuator tab access opening and the back corner of sockets I52, effectively blocking downward pivotal movement of the actuator tab. Again, all that is necessary to place the actuator device in operative condition is to momentarily lift actuator tab 140 manually, allowing pawls 150 to swing clear of the socket 152 under the influence of their natural hinge bias.

In the foregoing examples, the locking pawls are shown at tached to a stationary portion of the cap body, while the receiving notches or sockets are provided in the movable actuator tab. Obviously the relative position of these members can be reversed to provide the same locking effect.

What is claimed is:

1. A one-piece molded plastic overcap and actuator device for a valved aerosol dispensing container having an axially projecting valve stem, comprising in combination:

a cap body in the form of an inverted cup having side and end of walls, with a portion of said side wall formed to provide a curved reentrant surface intersecting the end wall substantially tangent to the projection of the valve stem axis to provide a flared opening for sprayed discharge of aerosol product thereat, means on said side wall for securing said cup to the valved end of the container in enclosing relation thereto, and an elongated access opening let into the end wall and opening onto said curved reentrant surface of said side wall, said access opening extending from said surface to the diametrically opposite side of said cap body;

an elongated actuator tab forming a loose conforming fit in said access opening, integrally and flexibly joined at one end to said cap body at a point diametrically opposite said curved reentrant surface, said tab being free at its opposite end for limited flexural movement transversely of i said end wall but biased normally by its juncture with the cap body to complement the surface of said end wall;

said tab having a laterally exposed face at its free end and a discharge orifice opening onto said face, said tab face being configured to fit the access opening in said reentrant curved surface and complement said surface; a socket formed in the underside of said tab adjacent its free end for the fitted reception of a valve stem therein, and internal conduit means in the tab connecting the discharge orifice to said socket; and

interengagable means on said cap body and tab, respectively, adjacent said laterally exposed tab face, said means comprising an integrally hinged pawl and a receiving notch to accept and retain said pawl, said pawl being normally biased by its hinge connections to lie in nonengaging relation to said notch and to be freely flexed on its hinge axis by relative motion between said cap body and actuator tab members, said pawl being manually displaceable upward about its hinge axis to cause it to enter into engagement with said notch, said pawl and notch having mutually inclined faces which form a ratchet when engaged, blocking downward flexure of the actuator tab relative to said cap body.

2. A device as defined in claim 1, wherein a pair of pawls is provided, said pawls being hinged to said cap body on opposite sides of said actuator tab, and a pair of receiving notches is formed in said tab in cooperative relation to said pawls.

3. A device as defined in claim 2, wherein said pawls extend transversely of the length of the actuator tab.

4. A device as defined in claim 2, wherein said pawls extend longitudinally of the length of the actuator tab.

5. A device as defined in claim 1, which further includes a temporary pressure sensitive adhesive strip extending across said actuator tab and into contact with the upper surface of said end wall on either side of said actuator tab.

6. A device as defined in claim 5, wherein said strip extends across and in contact with the upper surface of said actuator tab.

7. A device as defined in claim 5, wherein said strip extends across the under surface of said actuator tab. 5

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3006510 *Oct 20, 1959Oct 31, 1961Vca IncAerosol cap construction
US3169672 *Jan 23, 1963Feb 16, 1965Clayton Corp Of DelawareLocking actuator cap for valved dispenser
US3373908 *Dec 13, 1965Mar 19, 1968Johnson & Son Inc S CActuator cap with frangible guard
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3786968 *Aug 18, 1972Jan 22, 1974Seaquist Valve CoChildproof safety adaptor
US3828982 *May 10, 1973Aug 13, 1974Vca CorpSafety actuator for aerosol containers
US3885717 *Apr 19, 1973May 27, 1975Seaquist Valve CoChild safety closure for aerosol containers
US3913805 *Feb 24, 1975Oct 21, 1975Sette James JOne-piece dispenser cap and childproof actuator
US4017009 *Jun 10, 1974Apr 12, 1977Seaquist Valve Company, Div. Of Pittway CorporationChild safety closure (Method III)
US4171758 *Apr 11, 1977Oct 23, 1979S. C. Johnson & Son, Inc.Child-safe actuator for pressurized container
US5588566 *Mar 4, 1996Dec 31, 1996L'orealDevice for actuating a dispensing mechanism such as a valve fitted to a pressurized aerosol container
US6161736 *Jul 16, 1999Dec 19, 2000Berry Plastics CorporationDispenser apparatus
US8967436 *Aug 9, 2011Mar 3, 2015S.C. Johnson & Son, Inc.Dispensing system
US20060118658 *Aug 7, 2003Jun 8, 2006Reckitt Benckiser Inc. Morris Corporate Center IvOvercap and actuator button for aerosol spray can
US20130037581 *Aug 9, 2011Feb 14, 2013Daniel E. AndersenDispensing System
USD766084Sep 21, 2015Sep 13, 2016S. C. Johnson & Son, Inc.Overcap
DE3342885A1 *Nov 26, 1983Jun 5, 1985Thermoplast & Apparatebau GmbhChild-resistant protective cap for aerosol spray cans
EP0042039A1 *Mar 30, 1981Dec 23, 1981Canyon CorporationPush-button type sprayer
U.S. Classification222/153.2, 222/153.11, 222/182, 222/153.8, 222/402.11
International ClassificationB65D83/16, B65D83/14
Cooperative ClassificationB65D83/22, B65D2215/04, B65D83/205
European ClassificationB65D83/20C, B65D83/22B