US 3827605 A
The dispenser such as a liquid dispensing pump has its pump plunger guided for axial operative movement through a container closure member and through a locking member mounted on the closure member for rotary movement about a fixed axis coincident with the axis of the plunger tube. A locking tongue affixed to the locking member has a free end projecting transversely to and adjacent the axis of movement of the plunger and radially deflectible with respect to the axis for movement into and from locking position in the path of operative movement of a stop shoulder carried by the plunger so as selectively either to immobilize the plunger or to permit unimpeded operation thereof, while cam means fixed to the closure cap governs the radial position of the free end of the locking tongue in accordance with the rotational position of the locking member.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent 1191 Knickerbocker [111 3,827,605 .1 1 Aug. 6, 1974 1 1 LOCKING MEANS FOR LIQUID DISPENSERS Michael Gene Knickerbocker, Long Beach, Calif.
22 Filed: May 7,1973
 US. Cl 222/153, 222/384, 222/402.11  Int. Cl B67d 5/32 58 FieldofSearch ..222/153,402.11,3s4,402; w A 351/100; 206 15; 215/9; 92/23;
 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,149,757 9/1964 Safianoff 222/153 3,158,292 11/1964 O'Donnell 222/153 3,422,996 1/1969 Lipman 251/100 3,590,691 7/1971 Magers 222/402 3,591,128 7/1971 Ramis ZZZ/402.11
I Primary Examiner-Robert B. Reeves Assistant Examiner-H. Grant Skaggs, Jr. Attorney, Agent, or FirmWatson, Cole, Grindle & Watson [5 7] ABSTRACT I The dispenser such as a liquid dispensing pump has its pump plunger guided for axial operative movement through a container closure member and through a locking member mounted on the closure member for rotary movement about a fixed axis coincident with the axis of the plunger tube. A locking tongue affixed to the locking member has a free end projecting transversely to and adjacent the axis of movement of the plunger and radially deflectible with respect to the axis for movement into and from locking position in the path of operative movement of a stop shoulder carried by the plunger so as selectively either to immobilize the plunger or to permit unimpeded operation thereof, while cam means fixed to the closure cap governs the radial position of the free end of the locking tongue in accordance with the rotational position of the locking member.
13 Claims, 6 Drawing Figures LOCKING MEANS FOR LIQUID DISPENSERS This invention relates to improvements in molded plastic liquiddispensers such as are commonly used for dispensing various flowable products and has as its primary object, the provision of an improved and simplified locking means for selectively immobilizing the movable plunger or actuator of the dispenser to prevent inadvertent discharge or leakage of the product during shipment or periods of nonuse.
Although particularly applicable to pump type dispensers, the invention is also applicable to the movable actuators or valve plungers of conventional reciprocable dispensing valves such as are commonly used on pressurized containers.
In accordance with the invention, the locking member is mounted on the container closure member for rotary movement about a fixed axis, while the flowable product dispenser has its actuator or plunger disposed for axial operative movement through openings in the respective members. The plunger has a stop shoulder or abutment thereon, while a locking tongue affixed to one of the members has a free end projecting transversely to the plunger movement, the tongue being rigid in an axial direction, while its free end portion is radially deflectible with respect to the axis, so that it may be moved into and from the path of movement of the stop shoulder. Cam means carried by the other said member determine the radial position of the free end portion of the locking tongue in accordance with the relative rotary positions of the respective members.
It is an important feature of the invention that the locking tongue and shoulder above referred to are formed integrally with the respective members to thus simplify the production and assembly of the component parts with resultant economy of fabrication and assembly of the completed dispensers.
Further in the preferred embodiment of the invention, the locking member encircles and protects the locking elements or components while also affording a convenient externally presented surface by which it may be manually grasped and rotated from one operative position to another. Furthermore in the preferred embodiment, the aforesaid portion of the locking ring is in the form of an upwardly presented annular skirt which is in telescoping relation to a downwardly directed skirt carried by the discharge head of the plunger to jointly define a housing which at all times protects and conceals the locking components.
DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING In the accompanying drawing:
FIG. 1 is an enlarged view in an axial section, illustrating the manner in which the preferred embodiment of the invention is applied to a generally conventional dispensing pump and the container closure which supports the same, the locking means here being shown in its operative locking position to secure the pump plunger in its fully raised position.
FIG. 2 is a view similar to FIG. 1 but with the locking means released and the pump plunger shown in its fully depressed position at the end of the discharge stroke.
FIG. 3 is a section on the line 33 of FIG. 1. FIG. 4 is a similar section on the line 4-4 of FIG. 2.
FIGS. 5 and 6 respectively are diagrammatic plan viewsof the invention, with the plunger eliminated for simplification, and respectively showing the locking means in operative position, as in FIGS. 1 and 3, and inoperative position, as in FIGS. 2 and 4.
Referring now in detail to the accompanying drawing, the dispensing means to which the invention is applied in the present instance, comprises a dispensing pump which is carried by the removable closure of a container, the liquid contents or product of which is to be selectively dispensed by reciprocation of the dispensing pump plunger.
The closure member 10 herein shown by way of exemplification constitutes a container cap having an internally threaded skirt 12 adapted to be threaded on to the externally threaded neck of the container so that the top wall 14 of the closure will cover the discharge opening defined by the neck of the container and will seat against the upper end of the container neck.
Formed through the top wall of the closure member 10 is a central preferably circular opening 16 preferably surrounded by a depending cylindrical guide sleeve 18, the axis of which is preferably concentric with the threaded closure skirt l2. Projecting upwardly from the top wall of the closure concentrically to the axis of the opening therein is an annular bearing wall or skirt 20 having a radially, inwardly projecting snap rib 22 spaced from its lower end.
One or more locking cams 24 are affixed to and project upwardly from the top wall 14 of the closure generally concentrically to the opening 16 but spaced somewhat therefrom.
The plunger, generally designated 26, of the dispensing pump is of a generally conventional nature, comprising a hollow plunger tube 28 through which the product from the container is dispensed in conventional manner on each downstroke of the plunger, together with a conventional discharge head 30 carried at its upper exterior end. In accordance with general practice, the discharge head 30 is formed separately from the hollow tube 28 and provided with an integral downwardly opening socket defined by the sleeve 32. The discharge head is securely affixed to the upper exterior end of the tube 28 and establishes communication between the tube and the discharge orifice 34 of the discharge head.
It will be understood that the plunger 26 as here illustrated exemplifies a portion of the generally conventional and well known dispensing pump wherein the plunger normally is spring projected to its fully raised position of FIG. 1 after the end of each discharge stroke, whereby it may be operated by intermittent finger pressure on its upper end to dispense the desired amount of product from the container to which the closure 10 and its associated dispensing pump are applied.
In order to provide for selectively locking the pump plunger 26 in its fully raised inoperative position during shipment or storage, so as to prevent inadvertent actuation and discharge of product, the present invention makes provision for inclusion in such a pump of a novel locking means of which one component comprises the annular stop shoulder 36 defined by the downwardly facing lower end of the sleeve 32 of the discharge head. This stop shoulder 36 as will be noted, projects radially outwardly from the plunger tube 28 which it encircles, and thus is adaped for axial locking abutment with a component of the additional locking means hereinafter described. Such additional locking means comprises an annular locking member designated 40 in its entirety and which preferably includes an upwardly directed generally cylindrical skirt 42 for telescoping reception of the depending skirt 38 of the discharge head 26 whereby the telescoping skirts 38 and 42 will function to conceal and also to protect the locking mechanism enclosed therein. The manual locking member 40 includes at least one and preferably a pair of relatively symmetrically disposed bottom wall sectors 44 each having radial end edges or abutments 46 and 47 respectively for operative engagement with stop pins 48-48 affixed to the top wall 14 of the closure member, as shown in FIGS. 3 to 6 inclusive, to confine the permissible rotary movement of the locking member to the desired range between operative and inoperative positions.
Resiliently flexible locking tongues 50-50 affixed to the annular locking member 40 via its bottom wall sectors 44 respectively are each fixedly secured at one end to its respective sector 44, as being formed integrally therewith or in other words, as unitary parts thereof. Each such locking tongue extends generally transversely to the axis of reciprocation of the pump plunger and terminates in an operative free end portion 52 which, in its normally released and unstressed condition, is spaced radially outwardly from the plunger sufficiently to be out of the normal path of axial reciprocation of the annular stop shoulder 36 of the plunger. The
' locking cams 24 of the container closure are fixedly spaced outwardly from the plunger at fixed locations to avoid at all times any intereference with the movement of the plunger and its annular stop shoulder 36.
However the material of the locking members'is sufficiently flexible, and the proportions of the tongues are such that the circumferentially projecting free ends 52 of the locking members are deflectible radially inwardly from their released positions of FIGS. 2, 4 and 6 to the operative locking positions of FIGS. 1, 3 and in which positions the free operative end 52 of each locking member is directly beneath the stop shoulder 36 in the fully raised position of the plunger for axial abutment with the shoulder to prevent any downward movement 'of the plunger. To this end, the free end portions of the tongues are so proportioned and arranged as to be substantially rigid or inflexible in an axial or vertical direction.
Each locking cam 24 has a radially inclined or generally spiral cam surface 54 positioned and arranged for camming engagement with the free end 52 of its associated locking tongue to cam the latter inwardly into locking position beneath the stop shoulder 36 (FIGS. 1 and 3) incident to angular or rotary movement of the locking member 40 in a clockwise direction. On the other hand, partial rotation of the locking member 40 in the reverse or counterclockwise direction will retract the cam members 24 away from the free end portions of the respective locking tongues 50, so that the latter may spring radially outwardly to inoperative positions as in FIGS. 4 and 6, preferably by their own resiliency.
However in order to insure movement and maintenance of these free locking ends in their released position it is desirable that, as shown in FIG. 4, when the locking member 40 is fully rotated to released position, the outer surface of each cam 54 adjacent one end thereof will press outwardly against the inner surface of the relatively adjacent locking tongue 50 whereby to positively maintain the free or movable end portion thereof sufficiently outwardly displaced from the path of movement of the locking shoulder 36 to prevent locking engagement therewith.
In the use of the invention, which is believed to be readily apparent from the foregoing description, with the container closure applied to a filled container (not shown), the dispensing pump plunger will normally be locked in its fully raised position as shown in FIGS. 1 and 3 to prevent inadvertent depression or actuation with consequent leakage or spillage of the container contents through the pump. Where the pump is of the well known type in which a shipping seal is established in the fully raised position of the plunger, such a shipping seal will be maintained to prevent loss or leakage of the product from the container in the event the latter is wholly or partially inverted.
In order to release the locking means to permit actuation of the dispensing pump, it is necessary merely to grasp the preferably roughened exterior of the skirt 42 of annular locking member 40 which, when locked, will be positioned as shown in FIGS. 1 and 13, and to partially rotate the same in a clockwise direction from the position of FIG. 3 to the position of FIG. 4, which positions will be accurately located by means of the stop pins 48 of the closure cap. Note that in the locked position of FIG. 3, the end edges 46 of the locking member bottom wall sectors 44 abut against the respective stop pins 48, whereas in the released position of FIG. 4, the stop edges 47 respectively abut against the pins 48. The stop ends 46 in particular serve the useful function of preventing damage to the locking tonguesfrom excessive counterclockwise rotation of locking member 40. It is obvious that such damage might readily occur were counterclockwise rotation of the locking member 40 continued with appreciable force after the locking tongues had once been deflected to their operative positions.
In their operative positions as in FIGS. 1 and 3, the locking members have their free ends positioned beneath the annular locking shoulder of the raisedplunger 26 for positive axial abutment therewith to prevent either accidental or intentional actuation of the pump through depression of its plunger, and will be positively held and secured in such operative position by the cooperating earns 24.
To reengage the locking means in the positions of FIGS. 1 and 3 it is necessary only to rotate the locking member 40 through a portion of a revolution in a counterclockwise direction from the position of FIG. 4 to the position of FIG. 3 which position is determined by engagement of the end edges 46 of the locking member bottom wall sectors with the respective stop pins 48 of the closure cap.
During such rotary movement, the free end 52 of each locking tongue will engage the radially inclined end face 54 of its associated cam 24 and will thereby be deflected radially inwardly between the cam 24 and the plunger tube 28 into the path of movement of the stop shoulder 36. The locking tongue in this, its operative locking position, will positively prevent inward or downward movement of the plunger, so that the product can not be dispensed until the locking tongue is retracted to the position of FIGS. 2 and 4.
Although in the preferred embodiment, the locking means includes a pair of locking tongues and a pair of cams for cooperation therewith, it will be readily apparent that but a single such locking tongue and cam are required within the scope of the invention.
Moreover although the invention has been specifically illustrated and described in its application to a reciprocating type dispensing pump, it is also applicable to the reciprocable actuator or plunger of a conventional valve such as for many years has been employed to dispense various products from pressurized containers, the valve in such case being closed when in its fully projected raised position and being opened by downward depression to dispense the product. With this in mind, the elements 26 of the present drawing may exemplify the reciprocable actuator or plunger or valve stem of a conventional dispensing valve as employed on pressurized containers.
While only a preferred embodiment of the invention has been herein illustrated and described, it will be readily understood by those skilled in the art that the invention is capable of other and different embodiments and that its several details may be modified in various ways, all without departing from the invention as defined in the accompanying claims.
In particular it will be readily apparent that the locking devices or components herein described may readily be formed as integral portions of the otherwise conventional container closure and pump plunger, the only additional component comprising the locking ring or member 40. Further, the positioning of the locking means to render it selectively operative or inoperative may be achieved without the need for visual indicia, by virtue of the stop means herein provided.
Having thus described my invention I claim:
1. In combination: a container closure member; a locking member mounted on said closure member for rotary movement about a fixed axis; a flowable product dispenser having a plunger disposed for axial operative movement through axial openings in said members; said plunger having a stop shoulder thereon; a locking tongue affixed to one of said members with a free end which is radially deflectible with respect to said axis into and from the path of movement of said stop shoulder; and cam means carried by the other said member for radially deflecting said free end portion of the locking tongue responsive to relative rotary movement of said members.
2. The combination of claim 1, wherein said cam means is responsive to rotary movement of said locking member in a first direction for deflecting said free end of the locking tongue radially inwardly to an operative locking position in the path of movement of said stop shoulder.
3. The combination of claim 1, wherein said cam means includes means operative responsive to rotary movement of said locking member for retracting said free end of the locking tongue radially from said path of movement of the stop shoulder.
4. The combination of claim 1, wherein said cam means cooperates with the locking tongue in response to rotary movement of said locking member in a first direction for deflecting said free end radially inwardly, and includes means responsive to rotary movement of said locking member in an opposite direction for retracting said free end of the locking tongue radially outwardly from said path to a released position.
5. The combination of claim 4, including stop means carried by said closure member for cooperation with said locking member to limit the rotary movement of the locking member.
6. The combination of claim 2, in which said locking tongue is affixed to and constitutes a unitary part of said locking member for rotary movement therewith and said cam means is affixed to and constitutes a unitary part of the said closure member.
7. The combination of claim 6, including a plurality of locking tongues affixed to and constituting unitary parts of said locking member and a corresponding plurality of cam means affixed to and constituting unitary portions of said closure member.
8. The combination of claim 1 wherein said plunger constitutes one of the operative components of a dispensing pump for a flowable product, including a hollow plunger tube movable vertically through said aligned axial openings in said members, and a discharge head carried at the upper end of said tube and communicating with the tube.
9. The combination of claim 8 wherein said discharge head includes a sleeve received over and encircling the upper end of said tube, the lower end of said sleevebeing disposed in a radial plane of said tube and defining said stop shoulder.
10. The combination of claim 8, wherein said discharge head and said locking member respectively include oppositely axially directed skirts in telescoping relation, said locking tongue and said cam means being enclosed within said telescoping skirts.
11. The combination of claim 8, wherein said stop shoulder is concentric to said axis.
12. The combination of claim 1 1, wherein one of said members is provided with a radially projecting snap ring received in an annular groove in the other said member and interconnecting said members whereby to mount said locking member on said closure member for rotary movement about a fixed axis.
13. The combination of claim 12, wherein said locking member includes an annular upwardly projecting skirt above said closure member and freely accessible to facilitate manual rotation of the locking member.