US 3696973 A
A hand-held air compressor having motor air pump and air discharge fitting which mates with a male fitting on a disposable plastic container for liquid to be sprayed, the top of the container having a movable inner plug containing a smooth plastic jet, which in one position aligns a conduit from the male fitting to the jet and also connects with a conduit extending to near the bottom of the container, permits spraying of the liquid, such as a hair spray, when connected with a plug in the position described. When the plug is turned through an angle, connection from the male fitting is sealed off and the jet is moved so that it is no longer opposite an opening in the top of the container. This seals off the container. Adjacent the jet is an air passage down into the container, half of which is indented into the plug and the other half of which is indented into the wall of the hole so that when the air jet passage is in line, this air passage is in line also. It is also sealed off when the plug is turned. The air compressor has charging contacts which fit into a conventional battery charger when the spray device is no longer in use.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent Cottell 1 Oct. 10,1972
 HAND-HELD AIR COMPRESSOR AND LIQUID SPRAY DEVICE  Inventor: Eric C. Cottell, Windermere,
Bayville, L.1., N.Y. 11709  Filed: Dec. 9, 1969  Appl. No.: 883,562
52 US. Cl ..222/193 [511 lm. Cl. ..B67d 5/54  Field of Search ..239/341, 346, 351, 120;
 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,022,951 12/1935 Cohen ..222/136 X 2,761,734 9/1956 Farmer ..222/193 2,792,151 5/1957 Wagner ..222/193 2,961,129 1 1/1960 Bullock ..222/ 193 3,127,063 3/ 1964 Fairchild ..222/563 X Primary Examiner-Robert B. Reeves Assistant Examiner-Norman J. Stack, Jr. Attorney-Robert Ames Norton and Saul Leitner ABSTRACT A hand-held air compressor having motor air pump and air discharge fitting which mates with a male fitting on a disposable plastic container for liquid to be sprayed, the top of the container having a movable inner plug containing a smooth plastic jet, which in one position aligns a conduit from the male fitting to the jet and also connects with a conduit extending to near the bottom of the container, permits spraying of the liquid, such as a hair spray, when connected with a plug in the position described. When the plug is turned through an angle, connection from the male fitting is sealed ofi' and the jet is moved so that it is no longer opposite an opening in the top of the container. This seals ofi the container. Adjacent the jet is an air passage down into the container, half of which is indented into the plug and the other half of which is indented into the wall of the hole so that when the air jet passage is in line, this air passage is in line also. It is also sealed off when the plug is turned. The air compressor has charging contacts which fit into a conventional battery charger when the spray device is no longer in use.
6 Claim, 5 Drawing Figures PATENTED N 1 I972 3.696, 973
sum 1 0F 3 INVENTOR. ERIC 6'. COTTELL ATTORNEY PATENTEDncr 10 I972 SHEEI 2 BF 3 INVENTOR. ER/C c. COTTELL II I I I A TTORNE Y PATENTED B 1 9 2 3.696.973
sum 3 or 3 COMPRESSOR 32 ELECTRIC MOTOR 28 4 3/ BA rrmrs m'vm'rozz.
ERIC 0. .CQTTELL A TTORNEY HAND-HELD AIR COMPRESSOR AND LIQUID SPRAY DEVICE BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION Spraying of liquids such as hair sprays has been effected for many years by means of conventional aerosol containers, the medium causing spray being the conventional Freon or other liquids which volatilize at ordinary temperatures. Aerosol cans are relatively expensive as they usually have to be made out of metal or with metal fittings, and the large professional sizes used in beauty parlors are quite heavy to handle. The aerosol cans have one advantage, that they are disposable, but their relatively high cost makes their disposal a somewhat expensive matter.
In recent years a device has been developed with an air compressor and a refillable compressed air flask which connects to a spray container, which may, if desired, be of plastic. A typical instance of such a device is described and claimed in the application of Chamberlin Ser. No. 741,075, filed June 28, 1968, now US. Pat. No. 3,592,244, July 13, 1971. For use in beauty parlors such a device, which also permits automatic starting of the air compressor when an air flask is introduced into a well on the compressor, has many advantages. The air flask is much lighter and more easily handled than a large aerosol can, such as is often used in beauty parlors for a large number of hair sprays. Refilling is also simple, and where the use, as in a commercial establishment, is sufficiently large, the high first cost of the compressor and special charging flasks is amortized and substantial economies are effected. Although the Chamberlin device represents an advance from one standpoint, certain problems have arisen entirely apart from its initial cost which makes it unsuitable for use by individuals. In order to be able to use a compressed air flask for a reasonable number of applications, such as hair spray applications, the air pressure in the flask has to be quite high. This sometimes gives rise to mechanical problems which cannot be corrected by users unless they are skilled technicians. Also, control of the high pressure air is somewhat critical and cannot be accomplished at low cost. Nevertheless, the Chamberlin system presents numerous advantages for commercial use in beauty parlors and similar operations where the spraying is handled by skilled persons. This has still left a demand for light, low pressure devices which are cheap and share the ready disposability of the much more expensive aerosol cans. It is with an improved device or combination that the present invention deals.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The present invention utilizes a very cheap, completely disposable plastic container for liquid to be sprayed, a light, battery-operated, low pressure air compressor with a fitting which fits with a nipple on the top portion of the disposable liquid container. Rechargeable batteries are provided and a battery charger into which the compressor unit can be plugged for recharging.
A very important feature of one part of the present invention is the improved cheap plastic spray container. This container is provided at its top with a rotatable plug having a plastic spray nozzle which can be made very smooth, a conduit which can connect the spray nozzle to the nipple to receive compressed air and, in the same position, connection to the conventional liquid supply tube which extends to the bottom of the container. This inner plug is also provided with a groove extending down from the spray nozzle and forming a passageway through which air can enter to prevent forming a vacuum in the container as liquid is sprayed and which also acts as a drain groove for drops of liquid which may flow out of the end of the spray when the air supply is shut off. When the plug is turned to another position, for example through an angle of 45, air is sealed off and the drainage or air supply groove is also sealed off so that the container can be stored in any position without leakage.
The air compressor and motor with its batteries is in a slim handle which, as has been stated above, can be plugged into a conventional charger. A light pressure, easily operated thumb switch starts and stops the motor and is easier and more comfortable to operate than the smaller buttons which are used in aerosol cans and which were also used at least in the earlier models of the Chamberlin device. These buttons are perfectly operative, but if used all day in a beauty parlor or by others who spray for a long time, such as, for example, painters, for of course the device of the present invention is entirely suitable for paint or lacquer spraying, this can be tiring and may even be painful to a finger or thumb at the end of a day.
Reference has been made to disposability of the cheap liquid containers. For many uses, particularly for hair spray, it is preferable to provide for suitable shoulders or other locking means for the rotatable plug so that it cannot be withdrawn and the container refilled. This makes for the maximum of sealing against leakage and also is very convenient. However, the invention is not limited to such a container and the plug may be removable so that a container can be refilled. This possibility of refilling is ordinarily not desirable with hair sprays but can be of significance with paint spraying, where it is often desired to sell and store paint in much larger containers so that it can be stirred readily before use, something which is ordinarily not needed with hair sprays. Of course the stirability is not an absolute necessity even with paints as the containers are light and can be readily shaken before use.
The preferred form of the present invention is battery operated, and this has many very real advantages, particularly for use with hair sprays. However, it should be understood, of course, that the low pressure air compressor need not be driven by a battery operated motor. It is possible to have the motor operated from ordinary electrical lines, and in its broader aspects such a modification is not excluded though the battery operation is preferred.
Shapes of containers and air compressor are not critical, but a very desirable form is a long compressor unit of fairly small diameter, such as can be comfortably held in the hand, with a switch, of course, positioned for easy operation. This form of air compressor and drive elements is also easy to insert in the opening of a conventional charger and for this reason also is very convenient.
Often convenience and better operation of a device are obtained only at the cost of a higher price. In the present case the plastic containers and air compressor assembly which is preferred is very cheap, and if there is a fair amount of use are much cheaper than aerosol cans or than the larger, heavier, and more expensive high pressure air compressor and flask of the Chamberlin device. It is, therefore, an advantage of the present invention that better operation is obtained with the saving of cost instead of requiring a more expensive device.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is an exploded view of air compressor unit, liquid spray container, and charger;
FIG. 2 is a plan view looking down on the top of a liquid container;
FIG. 3 is a cross-section through a container along the lines 3-3 of FIG. 2;
FIG. 4 is an elevation of the elements of the air compressor assembly removed from their housing, and
FIG. 5 is a section through the air compressor proper along the lines 55 of FIG. 4.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS FIG. 1 shows the three units of the combined device of the present invention in exploded form. The air compressor unit is shown at l, which is its plastic housing with a spring returned thumb switch 2 and a fitting 4 for connection to a nipple 5 in the upper part of a plastic liquid spray container 6. The air compressor unit can be inserted into the battery charger 3, which, since it is of conventional circuit design, is shown in a semi-diagrammatic form. Contact is made with pins 21, which can be seen even more clearly in FIG. 4. When removed from the charger the slim air compressor unit is light, can easily be grasped by the hand, and is simple to use. The top 7 of the liquid container 6 has a spray orifice 8, an inner rotatable plug 9 with a raised arrow 11, which can be readily grasped by the fingers.
Turning to FIG. 3, when the nipple 5 is inserted into the fitting 4, it will be seen that there is a conduit from the nipple which in the spray position, which is shown in FIG. 3 and in solid lines in FIG. 2, extends through a portion of the outer shell 13 of the top of the spray container, which projection carries the nipple 5. In the position shown in FIG. 3, the conduit mates with a conduit 14 in the body 12 of the plug which is rotatable in the outer shell 13. This conduit extends to the spray nozzle 29 and in FIGS. 1 and 3 is shown as producing a spray 10. The conduit 14 also communicates with a liquid tube 16 which extends down near to the bottom of the liquid container. The connection is through a short conduit 15. It will be seen in FIG. 3 that there is a groove 18 which extends up to the spray nozzle 29 and communicates with the inside of the liquid container 6. This permits air to enter so that a vacuum is not produced, and when the spraying is stopped by releasing the thumb switch 2, any last drop or so of liquid can flow back through this groove into the container.
During storage and between uses, the inner plug 12 is turned through an angle which is shown in dotted lines in FIG. 2. This seals off the inside of the liquid container 6 and it can be stored in any position without danger of leakage. When put in use, the projection 11 is turned into the position shown in solid lines in FIG. 2, which is also the position illustrated in FIG. 3. For hair sprays and for some other uses it is often desirable that the container 6 be non-refillable. After filling the center of the container, the center plug is forced in and the shoulder 18, which is somewhat flexible, snaps out and locks it in position so that it cannot be withdrawn for refilling. This assures that every container will have the originally designed liquid filling and replacement with other liquids is not possible.
For certain purposes, such as epoxy resins which must be mixed and used at once, refillable containers are desirable, and of course in such a case the shoulder 18 is-eliminated or is made so flexible that the inner plug can be pulled out if desired. It will be noted that when using non-refillable containers there is never any cleaning needed as would be the case with containers that could be refilled. For many uses, such as hair sprays, this is desirable, and of course avoids any contamination of a refill with some of the residual material from the original filling. However, where desired, as in some cases for paint spraying and other uses, refillability can be provided. It will also be noted that even when a refillable container is used, there are now no sharp comers which tend to make cleaning difficult, and therefore, even though for most purposes it is not preferred, a refillable container is of as good a form as possible for cleaning.
In the housing 1 the air compressor electric motor and batteries are shown in FIG. 4, which shows these elements after they have been removed from the housing 1. The batteries are rechargeable batteries, such as nickel cadmium batteries, and are shown at 19. Charging pins 21 connect through wires 20 to the proper battery polarity. The positive wire, which is labeled red, goes to one terminal of electric motor 22, whereas the negative wire, labeled black, goes to the other terminal through the contacts of the thumb switch 2. The shaft of the motor 31 turns around compressor element 32, which is eccentrically located in an outer housing 25. This housing is provided with an air inlet 27 and air outlet 28 into the fitting 4. Vanes 26 maintain an airtight fit. This air compressor design furnishes a comparatively large volume of air at quite low pressure. As an isolated compressor element it is not unknown as similar compressors have been used, for example in certain electrical refrigerators. However, it is very suitable for the present invention as it permits a relatively large volume of low pressure air with a minimum of power. The invention, of course, is not limited to this particular design of air compressor and it is merely illustrated as a convenient and efficient form.
1. A spray device comprising in combination,
a. a light, hand-holdable air compressor capable of delivering air in large volume at low pressure, said air compressor being provided with a discharge fitting;
. a container for liquid to be sprayed having a top portion provided with means mating with the fitting on the air compressor and a liquid feed tube extending into the container and provided with an air conduit, the air compressor discharge fitting and the means on the top portion of the container mating therewith being sufficiently rigid so that when mated compressor and liquid container form a sub-stantially rigid and unitary structure, and
c. a spray orifice and multiple position controller in the form of a plug insertable in and mating with the top portion of the liquid container, the controller in one position connecting the spray orifice to the fitting on the source of compressed air and to the liquid feed tube extending into the liquid container and in a second position to seal off the liquid container from the air conduit and to break the connection therefrom to the fitting on the air compressing means, whereby in this position the container for liquid to be sprayed is sealed against leakage.
2. A combination according to claim 1 in which the air compressing means is actuated by a storage battery, the air compressing means and the storage battery being mounted in a unitary element, a charger adapted to receive the air compressing means and to connect the storage batteries to charging current.
3. A container for liquid to be sprayed having a top structure, sides and bottom, said top structure forming with the sides and bottom a substantially unitary element, the top structure provided with hollow fitting matable with a fitting on a source of low pressure air, said top structure being provided with a central plug rotatable to two positions, said plug being provided with a spray nozzle and a conduit which in one position connects the spray nozzle with the fitting matable with the air compressing means, an opening in the top portion in which the plug turns which in the first position exposes the spray nozzle, a liquid aspirating tube extending into and down to near the bottom of the container and connecting to the spray nozzle, the central plug when rotated to a second position disconnecting the spray nozzle from compressed air source fitting and moving the spray nozzle to a position sealing against the outer portion of the upper part of the container, whereby in the second position the container is sealed from the atmosphere.
4. A container according to claim 3 in which the plug is provided with a passageway from the spray nozzle to the interior of the container, whereby when the plug is rotated to a position exposing the spray nozzle air can enter the container to break a vacuum and residual liquid after spraying can run back into the container.
5. A disposable container according to claim 4 in which the container is of plastic.
6. A disposable container according to claim 5 in which the rotatable plug is provided with a sealing shoulder mating with the top structure so that after the plug is inserted after filling the container the container becomes non-refillable.