US 3800987 A
A child-resistant dispenser closure is provided which automatically closes off access to a container incident to the normal replacement of a threaded cap closure. The closure comprises a clutch mechanism in the cap closure which operates to rotatably close a valve mechanism within the neck of the dispenser container. A plurality of projections on the top of the dispenser cap are inserted into mating recesses in the valve mechanism after the cap has been removed from the dispenser neck in order to facilitate rotative opening of the valve mechanism.
Claims available in
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
[ Apr. 2, 1974 1 AUTOMATIC DISPENSER CLOSURE  Inventor: Charles E. Kemp, San Leandro,
 Assignee: The Clorox Company, Oakland,
 Filed: July 16, 1971  Appl. No.: 163,392
 US. Cl 222/153, 215/9, 222/505, 222/548  Int. Cl 865d 55/12  Field of Search 222/153, 505, 507, 548; 215/9; 220/39 C, DIG. 2O
 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,044,648 7/1962 Cohn 215/9 3,409,159 11/1968 Vcrt r r 215/9 3,650,426 3/1972 Miller 215/9 1,002,531 9/1911 Levy r 222/548 X 1,301,847 4/1919 Hoffman 222/548 X 1/1938 Thorn 222/507 2,106,364 2,281,620 5/1942 Rueger.... 2,838,214 6/1958 Kimball 222/507 X Primary ExaminerRobert J. Reeves Assistant Examiner-Frederick R. Handren Attorney, Agent, or Firm-Fryer, Tjensvold, Phillips & Lempio  ABSTRACT A child-resistant dispenser closure is provided which automatically closes off access to a container incident to the normal replacement of a threaded cap closure. The closure comprises a clutch mechanism in the cap closure which operates to rotatably close a valve mechanism within the neck of the dispenser container. A plurality of projections on the top of the dispenser cap are inserted into mating recesses in the valve mechanism after the cap has been removed from the dispenser neck in order to facilitate rotative opening of the valve mechanism.
4 Claims, 10 Drawing Figures FIG 14 PAIENTEDAPR 2mm 3.800.987
sum 1 or 2 52' 222 3 FIG 4 IN VENTOR CHARLES E. KEMP ATTORNEYS 1 AUTOMATIC DISPENSER CLOSURE BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention relates to automatic means for closing off access to a container, which container may hold substances such as liquid which are deleterious to humans. Currently, there are many household chemical substances on the market which, while very effective for their intended purpose, i.e., cleaning, bleaching, unblocking stopped drains, etc., are coincidentally hazardous, to health if accidentally brought in contact with the skin or eyes or ingested by mouth. Typically, these worthwhile products serve as attractive nuisances to children who have not yet reached the age of reason. Some children are able to master the relatively simple physical and intellectual task of unscrewing a normal cap closure from a container of harmful liquid and thereupon proceed to injure themselves, sometimes irreparably, by, e.g., drinking the contents.
A number of attempts have been made to design a bottle closure which, while inexpensive to manufacture, would prove effective as a barrier to unwanted entry. These attempts have generally proved unsuccessful for various reasons.
SUMMARY AND OBJECTS OF THE INVENTION:
It is, therefore, an object of this invention to provide a dispenser closure which is resistant to unwanted opening, while also serving to effectively dispense contents of a container upon which the closure is mounted.
It is a further object of this invention-to provide a dispenser closure which closes automatically into the normal screwingonof a threaded cap closure.
It is a further object of this invention to provide a dispenser closure which is resistant to opening by those possessing a lesser order of physical and intellectual skill, such as children.
It is a still further object of this invention to provide a dispenser closure having enhanced seal characteristics. 7
Other objects of the invention will become apparent to those skilled in the'art upon perusal of the following description in light of the accompanying drawings which illustrate the preferred embodiments of the invention. Other embodiments using similaror equivalent structure will become obvious to those skilled in the art, without departing from the present invention as defined in the appended claims.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is an exploded, isometric view of the dispenser closure mechanism constructed in accordance with the present invention;
FIG. 2 is a top plan view of the valve closure mechanism, showing the dispenser closure in its open position;
FIG. 3 is a top plan view similar to FIG. 2, showing the valve closure mechanism in its closed position;
FIG. 4 is a partial, fragmentary view of an alternate embodiment of a key slot used for opening and closing the valve mechanism;
FIG. 5 is a view similar to FIG. 4 of still another alternate embodiment of a key slot used for opening and closing the valve mechanism;
' FIG. 6 is a partial, cross-sectional view of the dispenser closure with the valve mechanism in an open position;
FIG. 7 is a similar view wherein the cap closure has been threadably advanced from the position shown in FIG. 6 such that the valve mechanism is partially closed by means of the clutch mechanism;
FIG. 8 is a similar view showing the cap closure fully threadably advanced to its seated position on the container neck and wherein the valve mechanism is fully closed;
FIG. 9 is a similar view illustrating the opening process wherein the cap closure has been threadably removed and inverted such that the opening projections on the top of the cap closure are inserted into the corresponding key slots of the valve mechanism;
FIG. 10 is a partial, cross-sectional view of an alternate embodiment of the invention as will be hereinafter described.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT With particular reference to FIG. 1, the dispenser closure of the instant invention comprises an internallythreaded cap closure 10, a closing disc or clutch mechanism 12, a rotatable valve member 14, and a stationary valve member 16. The stationary and rotatable valve members are designed to fit within the externallythreaded neck 18 of a conventional dispenser container or bottle 20. Closing disc 12 is rotatably located within cap closure 10 as will be hereinafter described. Threads (not shown) on cap closure 10 mate with threads 22 on dispenser neck 18 for securing the cap closure in the conventional manner.
With particular reference to FIGS. 2 and 3, the valving action of the instant invention is obtained by employing mating openings in the rotatable and stationary valve members whereby clockwise rotation of the rotatable valve member causes the respective openings to cease to be in line. As shown in FIG. 2, the openings 24 in rotatable member 14 and 26 in stationary member 16 are in the form of segments of a circle. Rotation of the rotatable member to the position shown in FIG. 3 causes the respective openings to cease to be in line and thereby closes off communication with the container interior.
Cap closure 10, as best seen in FIG. 1, may be conveniently made of metal and formed to the desired shape. This cap closure is of generally cylindrical configuration having an open and closed end and has a pair of opening keys or projections 28 extending from the top thereof. Also included on the underside of the cap are a plurality of intersecting grooves 30 which serve to mate with a plurality of intersecting, raised serrations 32 on the top of the closing disc or clutch mechanism 32 for purposes to be hereinafter described. Depending from the underside of the closing disc are a plurality of closing keys or projections 34 which serve to mate with a plurality of abutments defined by key slots or recesses 36 on the rotatable valve member. Included on the bottom of the rotatable valve member is a stop projection 38 which serves to mate with a stop slot 40 on the top of stationary valve member 16.
Contained within the neck 18 of dispenser container 20 are a pair of annular rings 42, 44. Stationary valve member 16 may be conveniently seated on bottom annular ring 44 whereas top annular ring 42 is designed to mate with annular groove 46 in the laterallyoutermost surface of generally cylindrical, rotatable valve member 14.
Members 12, 14, 16, 18 and 20 may be conveniently made of molded plastic material such as polyethylene. Assembly of the dispenser closure may be accomplished by permanently affixing stationary valve member 16 within'neck 18 against bottom annular ring 44 by various means, e.g;, gluing or heat sealing. Rotatable valve member 14 could then be snapped into place with top annular ring 42 mating with annular groove 46. Closing disc 12 could then be snapped into a rotatable position within cap closure 10, as will be hereinafter described. The cap closure could then be threaded onto the threaded neck 18 over the threads 22 in the conventional manner.
It may be here parenthetically noted that primes and double primes will be used in the following discussion to denote structure in secondary embodiments having numerical counterparts in the primary embodiment.
FIG. .4.is an alternate embodiment of the keyslot or recess 36' wherein the key slot has a bottom horizontal segment 48 intermediate the vertical segment 50' and ramp segment 52' shown in the primary embodiment. This additional segment 48 is designed to better mate with the generally rectangular opening keys or projections 28 and to facilitate counterclockwise rotation of the valve member for opening. v
FIG. 5 shows still another embodiment wherein horizontal segment 48" is further recessed so as to even furtherfacilitate opening of the valve member.
. .FIGS. 6-8 show seriatim the operation of automati-- cally closing. the dispenser valve mechanism. FIG. 6 shows the fully-open position wherein openings 24 and 26 are in line and access is provided to the container interior 54. FIG. -8 shows the fully-closed position wherein openings 24, 26are completely out of line. FIG. 7 shows an intermediate position between fullyopen and fully-closed.
The operation of automatically closing the valve mechanism begins with the initial threading on of cap member 10 over neck 18 of container 20, as best seen in FIG. 6. Internal threads 56 contained within the cap membermate with corresponding external threads 22 on the neck to facilitate screwing on of the cap closure. This screwing on of the cap closure is the normal mechanism for closing the conventional screw cap bottle. At this point in time, projections 34 axially depending from the underside of'closing disc 12 are not engaged with their mating key slots 36 on rotatable valve member 14.
It may be parenthetically noted that the clutch mech anism or means generally shown at 58 is in actuality a different embodiment than that shown in FIG. 1. For purposes of illustration, a second embodiment of the clutch mechanism is shown here, which clutch mechanism operates in a manner similar to that of the first embodiment. This clutch mechanism 58 consists of a transverse wire member 60 having upturned ends 62 conveniently crimped within the opening keys 28. Ar-
ranged on the top surface of disc 12 are a plurality of spaced, parallel grooves 64 which are oriented transversely across the disc.
The disc 12 is conveniently, rotatably retained within the cap closure by means of an internal annular ring 66. Annular ring 66 is spaced from the top, inside surface 68 of cap closure 10 so as to be approximately equal to the combined thicknesses of the disc 12 and wire member 60. In this manner, disc 12 is freely rotatable while at the same timehaving the top surface 70 of disc 12 in sliding-contact relation with the wire member. This relationship produces an overrunning clutch effect as will be described below.
In the fully-open position shown, rotatable valve member 14 is slightly spaced from stationary valve member 16 due to the fact that the stop projection 38 is positioned on the top surface 72 of stationary valve member 16. The spacing between the respective'valve members is exaggerated in order to properly show the detail. In actuality, this ramp-shaped projection has an approximate height of only 0.030 inch and an approximate circumferential length of only 0.065 inch. The plastic material of the respective valve members allows for temporary deformations such that the stop projection may ride up out of its stop slot to the position shown upon turning of the rotatable valve member 14. In addition, ring 42' andgroove 46 with which it mates are dimensioned so as to allow some movement of one valve member with respect to the other valve member.
FIG. 7 shows an intermediate stage in the automatic operation of the dispenser closure wherein clockwise rotation of the cap closure causes axial advancement of projections 34 to a point wherein they mechanically engage abutments at the ends of key slots 36. At this point, further screwing on of the cap closure 10 causes the turning motion imparted to the cap closure to be transmitted to rotatable valve member 14 through the clutching action of disc 12 and the interengagement of projection 34 with the slot 36 whereby said member is rotatably moved toward the closed position. It may be emphasized that at the intermediate point described the force is transmitted from the rotating cap closure 10 to the projections 34 by the frictional interengagement between wire 60 and disc 12. Stop projection 38 continues to ride unimpeded on surface 72.
FIG. 8 shows the dispenser closure in the fully-closed position wherein openings 24, 26 are out of line. This position is reached after further rotational and consequent axial advancement of the cap closure 10 have occured. At this point, wire 60 will have fully mated with the central-most cooperating recess 64 of disc 12 and stop projection 38 will have nested fully within its cooperating stop slot 40. The stop projection and slot thereby function to prevent further movement in the clockwise direction of the rotatable valve member beyond the fully-closed position.
In addition, annular ring 66 will have seated on top edge or rim 74 of neck 18 so as to provide a secondary seal between the cap closure 10 and the neck. This, of course, is in addition to the seal provided between the valve members 14, 16. Thus, enhanced sealing in the form of a dual seal is provided soas to insure against leakage from the container 20.
When it is desired to gain access to the bottle and utlize its contents, the cap closure is unscrewed from the neck of the bottle. The ramp portions 52 facilitate counterclockwise rotational movement of projections 34 and allow the cap closure to be removed since the projections are moved axially away from the valve incident to such rotation. As best seen in FIG. 8, after removal the cap closure 10 is manually inverted and opening keys or projections 28 are mated with their corresponding key slots 36 in rotatable valve member l4. Cap closure is thereupon rotated in a counterclockwise direction 180 by means of the projections mating into abutments defined by the key slots so as to once again place openings 24, 26 in line. The stop slot 40 does not impede this counterclockwise rotation since stop projection 38 rides up out of the slot due to the ramp-like geometry and orientation of members 38 and 40.
After utilizing the contents of the bottle, the cap is replaced and the closing steps outlined for FIGS. 5-7 above are repeated.
In FIG. 10, there is shown a second embodiment of the invention wherein the cap is made of plastic material such as polyethylene rather than metal, as with the first embodiment. This cap 10 may be conveniently cast so as to include a plurality of transverse ribs or projections 76 on its top inside surface 68. A plurality of mating cooperating grooves 78 are cast on the top surface 80 of disc 12. In addition, rather than making stationary valve member 16 as a separate structure, the corresponding structure can be cast into the neck 18 of bottle 20' during the molding process used to manufacture the bottle. Of course, opening 26' may be cast into the stationary valve member 16' at the same time.
It is to be understood that the foregoing description is merely illustrative of the preferred embodiments of the invention and that the scope of the invention is not to be limited thereto but is to be determined by the scope of the appended claims.
What is claimed is:
1. In a dispenser container having a discharge opening, a removable cap closure means for the discharge opening, valve means for opening and closing said discharge opening, said cap closure means including means for engaging and closing said valve means incident to placement of said cap closure means on said container but disengaging from and leaving said valve means closed incident to removal of said cap closure means from said container, said valve means comprising a rotatable valve member and a stationary valve member, said means for closing said valve means comprising clutch means for transmitting rotational movement of said cap closure means to said rotatable valve member to close said valve means, said closure means being a cap closure of generally cylindrical configuration and having an open and a closed end, and wherein said clutch means is located within said cap closure and functions to automatically close said valve means incident to the normal replacement of the cap closure of the neck, said valve means comprising a rotatable valve member having a plurality of slots defining abutments thereon and wherein said clutch means comprises a disc-shaped member having a plurality of closing projections depending therefrom and adapted to mate with said abutments upon axial movement of said disc member for imparting rotational movement to said disc member, said clutch means'further comprising means on said disc member for engaging the interior wall of said cap closure in order to transmit rotation from said cap closure to said disc member, means on the interior wall of said cap member adapted to engage said means on said disc member in order to transmit rotation from said cap closure to said disc member and thence to said rotatable valve member, and wherein said means on the interior wall of said cap closure and said means on said disc member comprise means defining at least one rib on said interior wall adapted to mate with means defining at least one groove on said disc member.
2. The invention of claim 1 wherein said ribs and grooves are oriented transverse to the axis of turning of said cap closure.
3. The invention of claim 2 wherein said means for opening said discharge opening comprises projection means on said cap closure normally axially directed away from said valve means, said valve means having slot means therein adapted for engagement by said projection means whereby said cap closure may be removed from said container and manipulated so as to bring said projection means into engagement with said slot means and thereupon impart rotational movement to actuate said valve means by rotating said cap closure.
4. The invention of claim 1 further including stop means associated with said rotatable and stationary valve members for stopping rotation of said rotatable member.