US 3754689 A
A safety overcap which, when attached to an aerosol container, prevents uninformed users such as children from dispensing products which may cause harm to them or others. The overcap includes a rotating shell with a hinged tab. When the shell is positioned for dispensing, the tab can be pushed inwardly against a tilt action inner element for dispensing of product.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Unite States Patent 1191 Blank 1 Aug. 28, 1973 [5 SAFETY OVERCAP FOR AEROSOL 3.09l,367 5/1963 Fredrickson 222/l82 x CONTAINERS 3,l85.349 5/1965 Sagarin ZZZ/402.1! X 3,426,948 2/l969 Stirling ZZZ/402.11  Inventor: Elliott E. Blank, M1dland, M1ch.
 Assignee: The Dow Chemical Company, Primary Examiner-Robert B. Reeves Midland, Michdwi zqa a smi erfl hnrha no  Filed Sept 1 1971 Attorney-William M. Yates,Arthur.l. Young etal.
21 A l. N 176 917 l 1 pp 57 ABSTRACT 52 us. 01. 222/402.11, 222/402.13 A Safety which when amwhed W050 51 1m. (:1 865d 33/14 cumin", Wm"ts "ninfmmed such as children 58 Field of Search 222/182, 402.17, mm dispensing Products which may cause harm 222/4021] 40212 40213, 40215, 40221 them or others. The overcap includes a rotating shell with a hinged tab. When the shell is positioned for dis-  References Cied pensing, the tab can be pushed inwardly against a tilt UNITED STATES PATENTS 8/l97l Nigro 222/402.1l
action inner element for dispensing of product.
7 Claims, 6 Drawing Figures Patented Aug. 28, 1973 3,754,689
2 Sheets-Sheet 1 INVENTOR. E/fio/r 5 Blank BY M I? TTTORNEY Patented Aug. 28, 1973 3,754,689
2 Sheets-Sheet I3 "M: g I M 52 INVENTOR. 15/00 H E. B/ank Y AM erraQA/EY SAFETY OVERCAP FOR AEROSOL CONTAINERS BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION 1. Field of the Invention This invention relates to new and useful improvements in protective overcaps for aerosol containers of the hand held type, and more particularly to a safety overcap which, when attached to an aerosol container, prevents accidental dispensing during packaging, shipment, storage or use of the product in said container.
2. Description of the Prior Art Generally, aerosol spray containers are provided with a bead adjacent the top of the container and a manually operated actuator, stem and valve assembly projecting endwise from the top of the container. The usual closure or overcap comprises a cup shaped body which is frictionally or otherwise coengaged with the top container bead to hold the overcap in place. More recently, other overcap designs have been developed which include safety features to prevent inadvertent or accidental dispensing of the contents in aerosol containers. A wide variety of means are employed to provide the safety function of these overcaps, one of which is typically disclosed in US. Pat. No. 3,236,421 by R. L. Glazier.
There is an ever increasing use of aerosol packaging means for distributing products other than food products which, if dispensed inadvertently or accidentally, present potential harmful effects to uniformed users such as children. These products include, but are not limited to, paints and lacquer, oil, hair spray, insecticides and other various pesticides and herbicides, bathroom cleaners, oven cleaners, deoderizers and the like. All of the aerosol containers packaging such potentially harmful materials caution the users to keep out" of reach of children and not to make contact with the body or eyes, but many do not provide a safety closure or overcap for such containers.
There are numerous other circumstances which can result in loss of contents of aerosol containers when a safety closure is not used. For example, an aerosol container may fall over so that the actuator means contacts and is depressed by a vertical surface. Also, an object may be inadvertently placed on the actuator means while the aerosol container stands amongst other articles. The accidentalloss of contents is most likely during shipment, and storage, before and during use, of the aerosol container. The use of a temporary cup shaped closure will overcome many of these problems, but will not deter use by uninformed users Also the temporary closure may be thrown away in that it frequently becomes a nuisance to the user in taking off, holding and replacing it.
SUMMARY In general, the present invention comprises a safety overcap which, when attached to an aerosol container, prevents dispensing, while in the inoperative position, of the contents of said aerosol container. The safety overcap is preferably formed from thermoplastic synthetic resins such as polystyrene, polypropylene, polyethylene or the like. The safety overcap may be readily molded in simple molding equipment involving high speed production techniques, thereby affecting low fabrication costs. Thereafter, the safety overcap may be delivered to the packager in one assembled piece in the inoperative position ready for automatic, one step, machine application onto an aerosol container.
In the present invention, the safety overcap has a generally hollow fixed interior support member with the lower end thereof securely fixed to an aerosol container over a tilt actuated valve stem projecting from the top of said container. The support member provides structural support for an inner actuator member mounted on the valve stem without restricting the operation thereof. The support member includes a hole or opening through which the contents of the aerosol container are distributed from the inner actuator member aligned therewith, and an oppositely disposed hole or opening through which the depressible end of the actuator member projects.
Overlying the support member is an outer shell which is rotatably mounted on the aerosol container. The outer shell includes a hole or opening through which the contents of the aerosol container are distributed from the inner actuator member. The outer shell also has an outer actuator tab integrally connected thereto with a flexible hinge, said tab being adapted to cooperate with the inner actuator member to dispense the contents of the container. The inner actuator member provides an elongated channel or hollow communicating with the valve stem and the exterior of the container through which distribution of the contents in the container to the exterior thereof is achieved.
Indexing means such as interacting lugs or stops are fixed to the outer shell and support member which cooperate to index and hold the overcap in the operative or inoperative position, as desired. To prevent undesired premature use of the contents in the container, tamper-proof means such as breakaway webs may be used to restrict the outer actuator tab and prevent its depression until removed.
During use of the aerosol container, the outer shell is rotated relative to the interior support member from an inoperative position to a fully operative position before distribution of the contents in the aerosol container can take place. Pivoting the outer shell to the operative position indexes and aligns the elongated channel or hollow of the inner actuator member with the hole or opening through the outer shell and places the outer actuator tab in cooperative alignment with the inner actuator member. By pressing the outer actuator tab into the outer shell, it is engaged with the inner actuator member to tilt the valve stem, whereby releasing and dispensing the contents of the aerosol container occurs. Pivoting the outer shell to the inoperative position removes the elongated channel or hollow of the inner actuator member from registration with the hole or opening through the outer shell and displaces the cooperative alignment of the outer actuator tab and inner actuator member such that pressing the tab will not cause the inner actuator member to tilt and activate the valve stem.
Accordingly, an object of the present invention is to provide an improved safety overcap for aerosol containers of a pivot locking kind as specified wherein pivoting the outer shell to the inoperative position prevents inadvertent or accidental dispensing of the contents of said aerosol containers.
Another object is to provide an improved safety overcap which is constructed so that it must be placed in a full open operative condition before the contents of the aerosol container can be dispensed.
A further object is to provide an improved safety overcap of the above described type which may be placed in an inoperative position after being used such that it cannot be acidentally operated.
A still further object is to provide a simple safety overcap which is inexpensive to manufacture, being preferably composed of moldable synthetic plastic material.
Additional objects and advantages of the present invention are even more apparent when taken in conjunction with the accompanying specification, drawings and claims.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS The invention is further understood by reference to the accompanying drawings in which like characters of reference designate corresponding materials and parts throughout the several views thereof, in which:
FIG. 1 is an isometric view of the top of a cylinderical aerosol container and an attached safety overcapconstructed according to the principles of the present invention;
FIG. 2 is an isometric view illustrating the interior support member and the inner actuator member of the safety overcap;
FIG. 3 is top sectional view of the safety overcap shown in FIG. 1 showing said overcap in its full operative position;
FIG. 4 is a top sectional view like FIG. 3 showing the overcap in its full inoperative position;
FIG. 5 is an elevational view in partial cross-section illustrating a modified preferred embodiment with the outer shell rotatably mounted and secured to the inte rior support member; and
FIG. 6 is an isometric view of the interior support member used in the modified overcap of FIG. 5.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS The following description illustrates the manner in which the principles of the invention are applied but are not to be construed as limiting the scope of the invention.
More specifically referring to FIGS. 1-4, a safety overcap 10 is illustrated. As shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, the safety overcap 10 comprises essentially three salient parts, an outer shell 14, an interior support member 24 and an inner actuator member 28, all of which may be molded from a thermoplastic synthetic resin such as polypropylene or the like. The outer shell 14 is rotatably mounted on a cylindrical aerosol container 12 and is secured thereto by an enlarged mounting portion 22 positioned over the top side wall bead of the container 12 such that axial movement of the outer shell 14 is possible. The interior support member 24, clearly illustrated in FIG. 2, is ofa generally hollow cylindrical contour with a lower end 26 frictionally or otherwise fixed to the top wall of container 12. If desired, an adhesive may be included between the lower end 26 and top wall of container 12 to assure immobility and retention of the support member in place.
Referring to FIG. 1, the outer shell 14 includes an outer actuator tab 18 with an integral flexible hinge 20 for depressing said tab 18 into the outer shell 14. The outer shell 14 also includes an opening or hole 16 to allow exterior dispensing of the contents in container 12. To prevent undesired premature use of the contents in container 12, tamper-proof breakable webs 21 may be used to fix the tab 18 and prevent its depression until removed.
Referring to FIG. 2, the interior support member 24 includes an opening 25 through which the contents of container 12 are dispensed and an oppositely disposed opening 33 through which the depressible end 29 of the actuator member 28 extends. The support member 24 provides structural support for the actuator member 28 during use.
The inner actuator member 28 can be integrally molded with the support member 24. To facilitate integral molding, the actuator member 28 is connected to the support member 24 by webs 30 and 32 which are flexible so as not to interfere with the operation of the actuator member 28 during use. The base 41 of the actuator member 28 is friction mounted on the tilt activated valve stem 38, as shown in FIG. 2, projecting from container 12. The actuator member 28 also includes an elongated channel, passageway or hollow 40 which provides open communication from the valve stem 38 to the exterior of the container 12. Webs 34 and 36 are connected to the actuator member 28 and cooperate with the support member 24 to prevent depression and dispensing of the contents in container 12 when the actuator member 28 is pushed through openings 16 and 25.
FIG. 3 illustrates the safety overcap 10 in its operative position and FIG. 4 illustrates said overcap 10 in its inoperative position. Both FIGS. 3 and 4 show the interaction and cooperation between the outer shell 14 and the support member 24, and the outer actuator tab 18 and the actuator member 28. In the operative position of overcap 10, the elongated channel or hollow 40 is registered with the opening 16 in the outer shell 14 and the tab 18 is cooperatively disposed with respect to the actuator member 28. To operate the overcap 10, the tab 18 is depressed into contact with the depressible end 29 of the actuator member 28 which in. turn tilts the valve stem to release the contents in container 12. In the inoperative position, FIG. 4, the elongated channel or hollow 40 is moved out of registration with the opening 16 in the outer shell 14 and the tab 18 is removed from cooperative alignment with the actuator member 28. The stop lugs 42, 44 and 46 align the overcap 10 in the operative or inoperative position, as desired, and the snap lugs 48 and 49 hold the overcap 10 in these positions.
A modified preferred embodiment of the present invention is illustrated in FIGS. 5 and 6, wherein a safety overcap is generally designated by the numeral 50. The overcap 50 comprises essentially three salient parts, an outer shell 54, an interior support member 56 and an actuator member, not shown in FIGS. 5 and 6, which is the same as the actuator member 28 in FIGS. l-4, all
of which can be molded from a thermoplastic synthetic resin such as polypropylene or the like. The basic difference in overcap 50, as compared to overcap 10, is that the outer shell 54 is not rotatably mounted on the top side wall bead of container 52, but is rotatably mounted and carried by the support member 56 which is, in turn, friction mounted to the shoulder 59, as shown at 61 in FIG. 5. As with overcap 10, an adhesive may be used to assure immobility and retention of the support member 56 in place on the container 52. The outer shell 54 is disposed close to the top wall of container 52, as shown at 72.
Also shown in FIG. 5 are stop lugs 68 and 70, and a holding lug 66 which function the same as stop lugs 42, 44 and 46, and snap lugs 48 and 49 of overcap 10. The support member has an opening 74 which functions the same as opening 25 of overcap l0, and an opening and outer actuator tab, not shown in FIG. 5, are included in the outer shell 54 which function the same as opening 16 and tab 18 of the outer shell 14.
Referring to FIG. 6, the support member 56 includes a generally hollow cylindrical body 58 to which a outwardly directed flange 60 is integrally connected. The flange 60 is disposed essentially perpendicular to the axis of body 58 and cooperates with a plurality of retaining lugs, shown at 62 and 64 in FIG. 5, to securely hold the outer shell 54 in a rotatable relationship with the support member 56.
The procedure used to operate the overcap 50, i.e., move the overcap 50 to the operative or inoperative position, is the same as for overcap 10.
The overcaps herein described are not limited by their attachment means to aerosol containers, as shown in the perferred embodiments, in that other known means would be just as effectively used if the support member is fixed relative to the container and the outer shell is rotatably movable relative to the support member. It is also understood that the scope of the invention is not limited by the technique of forming the overcaps, or by the use of thermoplastic synthetic resins of specific composition in that other materials including metals, glass, ceramics and the like coud also be used to form the overcaps.
While certain representative embodiments in detail have been shown for the purpose of illustrating the invention, it will be apparent to those skilled in the art that various changes and modifications can be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention.
What is claimed is:
l. A safety overcap for an aerosol container comprising a generally hollow interior support member securely fixed to said container over a tilt actuated valve stem projecting from said container, an outer shell which is rotatably mounted and secured relative to said container and support member, said outer shell overlying said support member, and an actuator means including an elongated channel or hollow communicating with said tilt actuated valve stem and exterior of said container, said outer shell including an opening through which contents in said container are distributed from said actuator means, a part of said actuator means connected to and disposed in rotational cooperation with said outer shell, said part of said actuator means being inoperative to tilt actuate said valve stem in one position of outer shell rotation and being operative to tilt actuate said valve stem in another position of outer shell rotation.
2. The safety overcap of claim 1 wherein said outer shell and support member are of generally cylindrical contour.
3. The safety overcap of claim 1 wherein said actuator means includes an inner actuator member mounted on said tilt actuated valve stem and an outer actuator tab connected to said outer shell by an integral flexible hinge, said outer actuator tab cooperating with said inner actuator member when said overcap is in the operative position thereby enabling depression of said tab into contact with said inner actuator member to tilt actuate said valve stem.
4. The safety overcap of claim 3 wherein breakable taper-proof webs interconnect said outer shell and actuator tab to prevent undesired premature use of contents in said container.
5. The safety overcap of claim 1 wherein said outer shell and support member include interacting indexing means which cooperate to index and firmly hold said overcap in the operative or inoperative position.
6. The safety overcap of claim 5 wherein said indexing means are stop lugs adapted to align the overcap in the operative or inoperative position and snap lugs which cooperate with said stop lugs to hold the overcap in these positions.
7. The safety overcap of claim 1 wherein said overcap is formed of a thermoplastic synthetic resin.