US 3712695 A
A plastic dispenser case for small items, such as hearing aid battery cells, consisting of a hollow plastic body to receive the cells and a plastic overlay cover having integral peripheral hinged panels to serve as individual doors to spaces in the hollow body, and as latches for clamping onto the hollow body, so the body and the cover are held tightly rigid, while permitting access through each separate door to remove a cell, with windows provided in position to permit a probe to engage one control terminal of a selected cell, with a sheet of dessicant material metallized on one surface to engage all the cell outer shells as the other terminal of the cells, for access as a common electrode by an external probe, thereby permitting testing of the individual cells in the dispenser case with the cells all assembled.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
mted States Paten 1 1 1 1 3,712,695 Kaye 14 1 Jan. 23, 1973 [5 HEARING AID BATTERY DISPENSER Primary Examiner James C. Mitchell  Inventor: Gordon E. Kaye, lrvington, N.Y. Attorney-Robert Levme  Assignee: P. L. Mallory & Co., Inc., Indi-  ABSTRACT anapohs nd A plastic d1spenser case for small 1tems, such as hear-  Filedl April 1971 ing aid battery cells, consisting of a hollow plastic [2-1] AppL No; 132,047 body to receive the cells and a plastic overlay cover havmg integral peripheral hmged panels to serve as 1ndividual doors to spaces in the hollow body, and as U.S. latches for clamping onto the holl w body, so the Int. Cl. A24 and the cover are rigid per- Field of search-m3 1; 206/46 65 F, mitting access through each separate door to remove a 206/37 R; 220/31 S cell, with windows provided in position to permit a -V.. V probe to engage one control terminal of a selected  References Cited cell, with a sheet of dessicant material metallized on one surface to engage all the cell outer shells as the UNITED STAT S PATENTS other terminal of the cells, for access as a common 3,433,351 3/1969 Zaborney ..206/42X eleitmde by e x temal F Permitting 3,288,277 ll/1966 Hallerbach ..206/42 testmg the lndlvldual cells In the dlspenser case I v with the cells all assembled.
14 Claims, 11 Drawing Figures PI 5;, e 10 e e Q My 12 I I I Q I I I 1., P2 s 53v PATENTEDmza I975 3,712,695
e2, 64, as 52, 54,56
PATENTEDJANZS I975 SHEET 3 BF 3 FIG.9
HEARING AID BATTERY DISPENSER This invention relates to dispenser packages for small items, and specifically is illustrated as applied to packages for dispensing smallhearing aid cells.
Because hearing aid cells must be relatively small in order to fit into design limited space accommodations, in many cases, such small cells necessarily have a small energy content and can be used for only a limited period of time and must then be replaced. The user of the hearing aid, therefore, usually purchases a small package containing several of such small hearing aid cells, to have them immediately available for such substitution whenever needed.
The average or usual user of a hearing aid is frequently already troubled with arthritis, particularly in the hands, or suffers from a general lack of manual dexterity due to such infirmity, or due to age itself. The matter of opening such apackage, usually small, and handling such small items, can therefore be a substantial problem if the package is not designed to provide some aid in permitting its manipulation for easily opening the package to permit a cell to be easily removed from the package, and, at the same time, to be unrestrained and free to fall.
While at first glance any kind of package might seem adequate, simply as a package, experience has shown that there are many problems in connection with such a package that it wouldbe desirable to solve and correct, in order that the design of the package may provide greater ease and comfortand assurance to the user, to permit suitable manipulation for access and for removal of a cell with maximum convenience, and minimum inconvenience.
In order to check the condition of cells in such packages, if they have been stored or held on a shelf for awhile, before sale, it is also desirable for the package design to permit access for one ormore testing'electrodes to each cell while packaged, and-without'the need for removal of a cell from a package, for a testing operation. v
One object ofv this design is to createa more simply designed package having desirable features for the storage and the dispensing of miniature. hearing aid electric cells.
The purposes of this invention are to provide such a package which will have many features and advantages that will promote the comfort of the user, in many ways, and include at least the following features:
I. A package designed to be used by people who lack the capability of manual dexterity due to infirmity or 2. A package having small size and good appearance.
3. A package whichis economicallymanufactured, having few parts.
4. A package permitting the cells to be electrically tested prior to sale.
5. A package essentially trouble free due to inbuilt reliability by the elimination of moving parts, and the elimination .of requirements for correct mechanical alignment of such parts as a necessity for the dispensing 7. A package having means for the containment of a desiccant such that excess humidity may be kept from the package during shelf service.
8. A package having the necessary surface for good labeling of products nomenclature at the same time permitting the viewing of each cell through a transparent housing.
9. A package in which the cells are essentially rattle free.
The manner in which such a package is designed and constructed and assembled with cells in position, is described in the following specification, taken together with the accompanying drawings, in which FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the dispenser case, showing one cover door open and exposing a cell;
FIG. Zis a plan view of the case body;
FIG. 3 is a sectional transverse view taken along line 3-3 of FIG. 2;
FIG. 4 is a sectional transverse view taken along line 4--4 of FIG. 2;
FIG. 5 is a plan view of the body snap cover, with battery cells indicated by the dot and dash circles;
FIG. 6 is an end view in elevation of the cover of FIG. 5, with portions in section for clarification;
FIG. 7 is a side view of the body cover of FIG. 5, with cells shown in dot and dash outline;
FIG. 8 is a sectional view of the case body of FIG. 3 assembled with the body cover of FIG. 7;
FIG. 9 is an exploded perspective view, showing the body and the snap cover, with parts in positions when assembled, except for one door shown'open to illustrate how the lip holds a cell from falling and in position to be grasped;
FIG. 10 is a plan view of a battery cell, with the body and door elements in section, to show the cell held against looseness and rattling; and
FIG. 11 is a plan view, in outline, of a dessicator card with a metallic surface to serve as a terminal engaging the metallic body of each cell, to permit testing of the assembled cells in place.
As generally shown in the drawings, the invention comprises two main plastic parts, (1) a hollow case to provide space for accommodating a plurality of small items, here specifically shown as small hearing aid cells, and (2) a'cover for the case to snap onto and close the case when the cells are positioned in place.
, The case is constructed in such manner as to expose a terminal surface of each cell, when the case is closed, so the cells may be engaged by an electrode to be tested after they are assembled in the case. Another terminal surface of each cell rests on a unitary electrically conductive sheet, that is also readily accessible as a common electrical terminal for all the cells, for testing each of the cells in position in the package. The snap cover is provided with a plurality of individual operable hinged doors which normally snap over and around an edge of the case in assembly, and the case and the cover are thus held rigidly closed when assembled. Each such hinged door may be readily disengaged from the case to open the space or compartment in which a cell is present, so the cell may be permitted to slip out of its space onto the hinged door for removal. A feature of the invention is that the hinged door embodies a latching lip which serves in its closed position to hold the door closed onto the case, and which serves in its open position to catch and retain the cell from that selected space on the lip of the door, against falling, so the cell may then be more freely and easily handled by the fingers of the user, and lifted from the opened unlatched door of the package.
Since the case is formed as a thin molded plastic unit, several defining walls and surface areas and reinforcing elements are provided in the structure to enable the case to constitute a rigid support for the cells. These are described in more detail in the drawings. Similarly, the cover also consists of a single unitarily formed thin plastic unit with several elements formed to serve as hinging doors, to close or latch onto the case in closed position and to serve, when so latched onto the case, to hold the individual cells in pressed position against casual movement within the package to prevent rattling of the cells in the case.
As shown in the perspective view of FIG. 1, the invention comprises a plastic body 12 and a cover 14. The body is shown in plan in FIG. 2 and in sectional view in FIGS. 3 and 4. Referring to FIGS. 2, 3 and 4, the body 12 is shown as having a central floor 16 with two lateral shelves 18 and 18A extending parallel to and longitudinally along the length of the central floor 16 at a slightly raised level on top of extending support walls 20 and 20A extending the full width of the case body 12. The shelf or ledge 18 is provided with three spaced openings or windows 22, 24 and 26, at the front of the central floor 16, and the shelf 18A is provided with a similar set of windows 22A, 24A and 26A at the rear.
As shown in FIG. 2, an open space 28-1 under the window 22 serves to accommodate one cell 29 which is intended to be so positioned as to make one terminal of the cell accessible through the window 22 for easy testing after cells are assembled in the package. The compartment 28-1 as seen in FIG. '3 is defined between an inner wall 30A and corresponding region of the inner surface of the main side wall 32 visible in FIG. 2.
In similar fashion a second space 28-2, indicated in FIG. 2, provides space for a second cell that may be accessible through the window 24, and a similar space 28- 3 is defined in the region below the window 26 shown in FIG. 2. An inner wall 308 separates the two compartments 28-2 and 28-3, and the compartment 28-3 is defined between the inner wall 30B and the other side wall 34. The shelf or ledge 18 may be seen to consist of three effective portions 18-1, 18-2 and 18-3 each respectively provided with the windows 22, 24 and 26, respectively. The two side walls 32 and 34 and the intermediate walls 30A and 30B serve to provide rigidity and support for the window containing shelves or ledges 18-1, 18-2 and 18-3.
Another feature of the invention is indicated in FIG. 3, where the intermediate walls 30A and 30B are shown extending slightly above the top surface 35 of the shelves or ledges 18. The front edge 36 of each of the shelves or ledges 18 is shaped as an upwardly extending lip that is provided with longitudinal serrations or corrugations on its upper surface for later locking a latching lip 40 on a door hinged on the cover, that is provided to be snapped over the serrated lip 36 of the case body 12 now being considered. In order to accommodate the thickness of such door later, the two side walls 32 and 34, and the intermediate walls 30A and 30B, are formed to project forwardly at 37, slightly beyond the front surface edges of the shelves or ledges 18 adjacent the corrugated lip surfaces 36, to provide space between the projections 37 of the several walls for the doors of the cover later to be applied to close the case body 12, after the cells are assembled in the case body.
Another feature of the invention is the upward projection of the two side walls 32 and 34, and of the two intermediate walls 30A and 308, to a height measured as element 38, as seen in FIG. 3, slightly above the top surface of 18 and 18A, in order to provide some protection against any external objects engaging the exposed electrode of a cell through one of the windows 22, 24 and 26.
As indicated in FIG. 3, the other half of the case body 12, indicated as 12A in FIG. 2, is the mirror image of the left-hand half of the body as shown and described in FIGS. 2 and 3.
The cap or cover for the case body 12 is shown as the component 14 illustrated in FIGS. 5, 6 and 7. As shown in those figures, the cover 14 is a unitarily formed plastic unit and is shown as comprising a thin main central cover portion 50, and three pivotted front doors 52, S4 and 56, and three rear doors 62, 64 and 66. In addition, the cover 14 embodies two hollow boxes and 72 to serve as rigid buttressing and spacing elements. Further, the cover 14 embodies two hinged latches 74 and 76, hinged on the cover 14, adjacent the buttressing elements 70 and 72, and slightly spaced from the adjacent ledges 78 and 78A of the cover central portion 50, to permit freedom of movement of the pivoted latches 74 and 76 from-normal flat planar position, with respect to the cover 14, as in FIG. 5, to transverse raised position as indicated by the latches 74 and 76 in FIG. 9, for engaging and latching onto the case body 12, through slot openings 78 and 80.
The manner in which the cover is latched onto the case body, is indicated in FIG. 9, in which the two hinged latching elements 74 and 76 are indicated in raised vertical positions to show the manner in which those latching elements are first raised to transverse position with respect to the plane of the cover 14, and then slipped upwardly into the slots 78 and 80 of the case body 12, with the latches moving into slot openings 78 and 80 indicated in FIG. 9 and identified in FIG. 2 as rectangular slots 78 and 80 extending longitudinally along the two side walls 32 and 34 of the case body 12 in FIG. 2.
Thus, as shown in FIGS. 5, 6 and 7, the cover is provided with several hinged elements at its forward and back ends, to serve as the doors for closing the cell compartments in the case body 12, and is further provided with the two latches 74 and 76 to serve also to latch the cover 14 onto the case body 12, which thus provides a rigid structure of the cover and the case body, when assembled.
The two buttressing and spacing columns or boxes 70 and 72 serve to hold the case and cover properly spaced as intended, and serve also to hold the combination as a rigid closed box, with each of the two latches and each of the six pivotted doors also serving as ribbing and strengthening members in addition to performing their own functions.
The pulling action of the doors and of the latches, to hold the case body and cover rigidly together, serves also to provide axial pressure on each of the respective cells 29 in their compartments so that those cells are normally held against casual displacement, both under ordinary conditions, andwhen the package is manipulated by opening any one door to exit the associated cell. The hinged construction of the individual doors, such as52, and the serrated top edges of the door lips makes it relatively easy for a person with even arthritic hands and fingers to open any door to release an associated cell 29. By tipping the package, the cell 29 is then guided outward and is caught by the lip of the door in such way as to be prevented from falling to the ground.
As shown in FIGS. 8, 9 and 10, each door, in the groups 5 2 and 62, is provided with a dimple 86 to press against its associated cell 29 and .to press the cell against two back ribs 88 and 88A, and thereby prevent rattling of the cellsin the dispenser case.
As shown in FIG. 6, the latches 74 and 76 are mitered where joined to the cover 14, to permit each door to be rotated freely through a right angle to closed position. i
As mentioned above, the windows 22, 24and 26, and their opposite counterparts, permit access ofone last terminal to thetop surface of the central electrode of the cell. For access to the other electrode of the cell whichis the metal shell of the cell, a terminal card 90 is employed, shape as shown in' FIG. 11, of substantially H-shape with an outer tab 92. The top surface of card 90 is metallized, aswith a layer' of aluminum 94: The body 96 of the card isof a material that is sufficiently moisture-absorbing to serve as a dessicant.
in assembling the dispenser case, the card 90 is disposed over the cover sheet14, to fit down over the buttress boxes 70 and 72 and the raised latches 74 and 76, as inFlG. 9. g V
After the cells are placed in the body, inverted,
the cover 14 is pressed down on'body 12 to insert the latches in place. The doors are then closed and the dispenser is fully assembled, and the cells are ready todition the provision of a window for access to each cell permits testing of thecells after they have been assembled in their package. The various details and construction of the caseand the cover also provide additional protection for the cells and surfaces when carried in the users pocket or purse. 7
It is to be understood,.of course, that the details of construction may be modified without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention as'defined in the claims. i
What is claimed is: v
l. A plastic dispenser package for a plurality of items, to permit individual removal of each item, said package comprising i a case for receiving and holding a plurality of items with at least one surface of each item exposed to be readily accessible for visual examination, or testing in place;
and a flexible plastic cover for snapping over the case to close the case and to hold the items in place against casual displacement, within said case, and from said case, said cover having a plurality of doors integral with and individually pivoted on said cover, each of said doors comprising a central portion and a hook-shaped latching lip, wherein said latching lip serves in its closed position to hold said door onto said case and which serves in its open position as a stop to catch and retain said items on the central portion of said door to prevent said items from dropping away from said case, so the holder of the case can then handle and remove said item from said case. g 2. A plastic dispenser package, as in claim 1, in which said case is provided with a relatively rigid ceiling wall having a plurality of openings as windows to permit access to a surface of each item, as for a testing operation, with compartment spaces beneath said ceiling wall to accommodate said items in storage according to the depth dimension of said item, with said beneath space being such as to permit free insertion and removal of said item when said space is open, and said case having rigid side walls supporting said ceiling wall; and said cover having doors integral with and individually pivoted on said cover, and movable to closed position to close said spaces to hold said items against removal, and said doors being movable to open position to permit removal of an item from the space related to said door. 3. A plastic dispenser package, as in claim 1, in which said case is constructed to embody and to define compartments for accommodating a plurality of items, namely hearing aid cells; and said cover is constructed to embody means for latching said cover onto saidcasefand is constructed further to embody a plurality of doors, each being hingedly supported on said cover and moveable to closed position to close a related compartment, and each door being reversely moveable to its open position to provide access to said compartment to permit removal of a stored hearing aid cell from said compartment. 4. A 'plastic dispenser package, as in claim 3, in which said cover embodies a central planar portion, and said latching means on said cover includes two latch elements peripherally hinged on said central planar portion, with each latch element embodying a hook for engaging and latching onto saidcase.
5. A dispenser package, as in claim 4, in which said case has a top horizontal wall that extends between two vertical side walls, and has a rectangular slot parallel to and adjacent each side wall, each slot serving to receive one of said two hinged latch elements, so the hook of each said latch element will latch and lock onto said top horizontal wall.
6. A dispenser package, as in claim 5, in which said top ceiling wall is provided with the window above each compartment space for a cell, to expose a terminal surface of a cell when in said space, to permit a first external testing electrode to engage each said exposed surface through each said window;
and a sheet of electrically conducting material,
disposed in said package to engage unexposed terminal surfaces of said cells when in place in said case, with said conducting material having a portion accessible from outside said package to be accessible for engagement by a second external testing electrode to cooperate with said first testing electrode to test a selected cell in the package.
7. A dispenser package, as in claim 2, in which said ceiling wall has linearly aligned spaced front edges along the length of said wall, on the upper outer limit of the compartment space beneath, and each of said front edges being provided with a raised linear hump;
and said doors have their free edges shaped to embody a resilient hook to be pressable over the related humped linear edge to close the related compartment.
8. A dispenser package, as in claim 7, in which said case is provided with said compartment on opposite ends of said case, and
said cover is provided with said doors hinged on opposite ends of said cover to engage and latch over the end edges of said ceiling walls of said compartment;
and said cover is further provided with latching elements hinged on its side edges and adapted to fit appropriate openings along the side walls of said case to latch onto said side walls to lock the cover to said case to constitute the case and the cover a rigid closed box, in spite of the resiliency and flexibility of the thin stock of which the cover is made.
9. A plastic dispenser for hearing aid cells, as in claim 6, in which a supporting card is provided for supporting said sheet of electrically conducting material as a surface layer of foil on said card, so said supporting card may serve as a manipulating handle to place said conducting sheet in operating position to engage the outer base surfaces of said hearing aid cells when in place and said supporting card is formed to constitute a dessicant card to reduce moisture in the closed case while stored on a shelf waiting for sale.
10. A plastic dispenser for hearing aid cells, as in claim 2, in which accommodate said hinged doors when moved to closing position, to protect said doors against casual side forces that might undesirably open said doors and permit the cells to fall out.
12. A plastic dispenser case for hearing aid cells comprising a plurality of rectangular compartments,
each of said compartments comprising;
an individually operable hinged door provided with a hook-shaped latching lip to snap over and around an edge of the case to lock said compartment when in closed position and to serve as a platform to support and retain a cell when in open position;
a unitary electrically conductive sheet accessible as a common electrical terminal for each of said cells in said dispenser;
a ceiling wall provided with an aperture above each of said compartments to expose a terminal surface of each cell to permit an external testing electrode to engage each said exposed surface thereby permitting testing of each cell in position within said compartment; and
means to hold each of said cells in pressed position to prevent casual displacement of said cells.
13. A plastic dispenser package for a plurality of electric cells comprising a plastic case and a plastic overlay snap cover,
said plastic case comprising,
two vertical side walls;
a top wall as a ceiling therefor extending between said vertical side walls, said top wall having a slot parallel to and adjacent each of said side walls;
a plurality of apertures in said ceiling wall for permitting entry of an electrical probe to engage an electrical terminal of each of said cells;
said plastic overlay snap cover comprising,
a central planar portion;
latching means hinged to said central planar portion and adapted to engage said plastic case through said slots in said ceiling wall;
a plurality of integral peripheral panels hinged to said central planar portion, said panels serving as individual doors to compartments in said plastic case, each of said panels comprising a substantially flat central portion and a hook-shaped latching lip adapted to snap over and around an edge of said plastic case; and I means for engaging a second terminal of each of said cells, said means comprising an electrically conductive sheet upon which rests said second terminal of each of said cells, thereby serving as a common electrical terminal for each of said cells in said dispenser.
14. The plastic dispenser package, as in claim 13, in which each of said doors is provided with protruberant pressing means to maintain each cell securely in each of said compartments.
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