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Publication numberUS3831605 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateAug 27, 1974
Filing dateJan 26, 1973
Priority dateJan 26, 1973
Publication numberUS 3831605 A, US 3831605A, US-A-3831605, US3831605 A, US3831605A
InventorsFournier E
Original AssigneeFournier E
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Multipurpose applicators
US 3831605 A
Abstract
Applicators for liquid or solid matter are disclosed that are capable of a single or multiple uses. They are characterized by an outer tube and an inner ejecting means slidably positioned therein, said ejecting means including a plunger element that includes a foldable handle means.
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United States Patent 1191 Aug. 27, 1974 F ournier MULTIPURPOSE APPLICATORS 3,059,642 10/1962 Gershen 128/263 3,103,929 9/1963 Brecht 128/263 [76] Erck'plem 30 Park 3,115,876 12/1963 Nalle, Jr. 128/263 Ave-1 New York, 10022 3,228,398 1/1966 Leonard eta1..... 128/269 Jan. 2 3,424,159 1/1969 Whitehead at al 128/263 [21] Appl. N0.: 327,237 Primary Examiner-Aldrich F. Medbery gttgrney, Agent, or Firm- Morgan, Finnegan, Durham [52 us. c1 128/263, 128/265, 128/285 me {51] Int. Cl. A61f 13/20v [58] Field 61 Search 128/213, 260, 263, 285, [57] fBSTRACT 128/269, 238; 401/ 198,243; 206/56 Applicators for liquid or solid matter are disclosed that are capable of a single or multiple uses. They are 5 References Cited characterized by an outer tube and an inner ejecting UNITED STATES PATENTS meansslidably positioned therein, said ejecting means 2 222 088 H940 P 08/263 v lncludmg a plunger element that includes a foldable 216303804 3/1953 M22252?iiijiiij'"""""i:::1::113 126m handle means- 3,059,641 10/1962 Gershen; 128/263 19 Claims, 36 Drawing Figures I 3 Z I! k J l 47 I 3 1 IO O PArtmwwczm 3W3,

saw a w s FIGII.

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PATENTEB ms 2 7 m4 SHE? 3W 5 1 MULTIPURPOSE APPLICATORS BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention provides a new and novel packaging concept that includes as a part of the package, means for applying liquid, semi-solid or solid material into an opening or onto a surface.

The primary uses that are contemplated-for my invention are in the fields of medicine and personal hygiene. In particular, single use applicators that are fully disposable and are adapted for use in cleansing or medicating human and animal body orifices or surfaces. Also the single use applicators may be specially adapted for use as catamenial tampon introducers and for the application to the vagina of liquid, foamed or semi-solid compositions for therapeutic, contraceptive or cleansing purposes. Primary uses also include specialized applicators for chemicals, glue, grease, explosives and the like which may find use in industry and the military.

Secondary uses that are contemplated include food packaging and household product packaging. Specific examples are candy stick holders (for tropical countries), quick energy food containers and dispensers, one-time shoe polish kits, jewelry cleaning devices and coffee stain removers.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PRIOR ART Most prior art ejector-type applicators have been designed with a coaxial plunger element having a handle that extends outwardly in a direction opposite to the direction in which the plunger element is moved to place the applied substance in contact with the locus wherein it is to be applied. These prior art patented devices were bulky and in the past have been constructed of an outer tube that has a plunger element and a telescopically engaged inner tube that may be employed to eject the contents of the applicator.

The prior art has sought to reduce the overall length of vaginal applicators in order to reduce package size and render the packaged product most aesthetic and less noticeable while increasing the number which may be carried in the same space. US. Pat. No. 3,101,713 discloses a catamenial tampon applicator which has a plunger element that fits substantially completely within an outer tube in its assembled prior-to-use position. To eject the tampon the plunger element is first withdrawn to engage the tampon at its lower end and thereafter, it is used to eject the tampon by pushing the plunger element into the outer tube. Various cooperating elements in the nature of grooves and stops are provided to prevent complete disengagement of the plunger element. This device is quite complex for a single use disposable applicator and is relatively costly to produce.

Other vaginal applicators in the prior art that have been employed for the insertion of suppositories, creams, jellies or foams, etc., have been constructed with elongated plunger elements that extend past the end of the outer tube element of the applicator.

In the healthy female organism, normal vaginal secretions originating from the various gland centers such as Skenes and Bartholins consist of a serous, mucoid exudate whose flow tends to increase upon the stimulation of erotic feelings. In addition to these normal secretions, desquamating epithelial cells from the vaginal walls and residues from menstrual flow constitute other debris which, if not removed, can cause discomfort due to odor and irritation. Also, pathogenic bacteria may breed or the normal flora may overgrow due to a rise in the pH of the normally acidic milieu of the vaginal tract.

Conventional methods of vaginal hygiene fall into two major categories external deodorants or internal douching. Vaginal deodorants are: generally held by gynecologists to be largely ineffective as they are strictly limited to surface action. In addition, sprays have recently come under severe criticism for the skin irritation reportedly provoked by either the gas propellant or by the reason of the fact that many of these products contain hexachlorophene which is objectionable, per se.

To date, douching remains as the most effective cleansing method in use, even though it is regarded by most women as a cumbersome enterprise while physicians consider it inadequate in combating abnormal vaginal conditions such as moniliasis, trichomoniasis and non-specific bacterial vaginitis.

A third method of vaginal cleasing has been based on the use of scrubbing devices which are designed to dislodge from the vaginal walls debris that was not eliminated by gravity alone. Some: of these devices are shown in US. Pat. No. 2,832,342 and US. Pat. No. 3,228,398.

US. Pat. No. 2,832,342 shows a vaginal cleansing device which comprises a sponge that is packaged in a telescoped applicator. The telescoped applicator may be used to place the sponge in the vagina where it is retained to exert what is described as a suction action.

US. Pat. No. 3,228,398 discloses a polyurethane sponge that is mounted on rigid plastic handle. It appears to be a relatively bulky type of device which is not readily concealed in an inconspicuous manner.

Known vaginal scrubbing devices such as these are bulky and are not compact, easy to carry or adaptable for pre-impregnation with a cleanser or medication.

Accordingly, it is an object of this invention to provide a novel packaging concept that includes an improved multipurpose ejector-type applicators for use in medical, industrial and household applications that are more compact than prior art devices.

It is an object of this invention to provide improved applicators for use in body cavities for human and veterinary applications.

It is an object of this invention to provide improved multipurpose ejector-type applicators for use in packaging liquid, semi-solid and solid compositions for diverse fields of use such as household products, specialized food packages and the like.

It is an object of the present invention to provide an improved applicator for use in the inserting into the vaginal canal liquid or solid matter.

It is an object of this invention to provide an improved applicator device for use in facilitating the irisertion of catamenial tampons.

It is an object of this invention to provide an improved vaginal applicator for use in the insertion of suppositories, creams, jellies, foams and other forms of therapeutic compositions.

It is an object of this invention to provide a compact, low cost, single use vaginal applicator that is one-half the size of prior art applicators.

It is an object of this invention to provide compact, low cost single use vaginal applicators that may be mass produced at low cost by injection molding.

It is an object of this invention to provide an improved vaginal applicator that is fully disposed and adapted for use as a closed container for a premeasured single dose of a therapeutic, hygienic or contraceptive composition.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION In brief, these and other objects of the invention are attained by an applicator which has two essential structural elements, an outer tube and an inner ejecting means coaxially located therein and having a plunger element and a foldable handle means. The foldable handle means is hinged to the plunger element and is movable to a first position for sliding the plunger element within said outer tube and movable to a second position when the plunger element is retracted to said outer tube so that the handle means is laterally spaced in relation to the axis of the outer tube. The applicator may be advantageously produced by injection molding any of a large number of thermoplastic materials such as polyethylene, polypropylene, polyamides, such as nylon, polyester or polyallomer. Other materials such as paper or paper products may be employed as stock material for all or part of the individual components of the applicator.

In one embodiment of the invention, the applicator for use in the insertion of a catamenial tampon will comprise an outer tube provided with a plunger element that contacts a compressed tampon located in the outer tube. The plunger element comprises a stem and a tampon engaging end that when in normal storage position prior to use will be located inside the outer tube is an area that is provided with a stopping means.

The stopping means prevents the tampon and the plunger element from being pushed completely through the outer tube. The stem of the ejecting means is an elongated rod or post which is provided with a hinged handle that may be moved into a storage position so that it is laterally spaced in a substantially parallel relation to the axis of the outer tube.

The multipurpose applicator of this invention, when adapted for vaginal use can be fashioned to a dimension not exceeding 2 to 3-1/2 inches in length, making it inconspicuous, readily concealable and easily disposable. The design of the applicators disclosed herein also results in a lower cost that makes practical the marketing of disposable applicators for any type of vaginal use.

Three basic types of vaginal applicators are contemplated by this invention. They may be broadly described as a tampon applicator, a swab-type applicator for liquids and semi-solids and a measured dose ejection placement-type applicator for liquids, semi-solids (e.g. foams) and solids.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a side elevation of a capped vaginal applicator.

FIG. 2 is a side view of FIG. .1.

FIG. 3 is a top view of FIG. 1.

FIG. 4 is a bottom view of FIG. 1.

FIG. 5 is a cross-sectional view of FIG. I which shows a cured layer of polymeric foam affixed to the elongated support and the handle in the closed position.

FIG. 6 is a cross-section of FIG. 1 which shows a cured layer of polymeric foam affixed to the elongated support and the handle in the open position.

FIG. 7 is a side view of FIG. 6 taken along the line 7-7.

FIG. 8 is a cross-section of an applicator as shown in FIGS. 1-7 wherein the ejector element is extended to push the cured polymeric foam layer out of the outer tube so that it is in the expanded position for use.

FIG. 9 is a side view of FIG. 8.

FIG. 10 is a cross-section of the ejector element and handle of the applicators shown in FIGS. l9.

FIG. 11 is a side cross-section of the applicator of FIGS. 1-9 which is taken along the line 1111 of FIG. 10.

FIG. 12 is a cutaway cross-section of FIG. 10 taken along the line 12-12.

FIG. 13 is a side view of an applicator illustratively for use in conjunction with chemical contraceptives.

FIG. 14 is a side view of FIG. 13.

FIG. 15 is a top view of FIG. 13.

FIG. 16 is a bottom view of FIG. 13.

FIG. 17 is a side cross-sectional view of FIG. 13 taken along line l7l7.

FIG. 18 is a view of FIG. 17 with the handle opened to the ejecting position and partially extended into the outer tube.

FIG. 19 is a side view of FIG. 17 taken along the line l9l9.

FIG. 20 is a'partial sectional view of FIG. 18 taken along line 20-20.

FIG. 21 is a side elevation view of an single ejector arm applicator illustratively for use with a catamenial tampon.

FIG. 22 is a side view of FIG. 21.

FIG. 23 is a top plan view of FIG. 22.

FIG. 24 is a bottom view of FIG. 22.

FIG. 25 is a side cross-section of FIG. 21 taken along line 2525.

FIG. 26 is a view of FIG. 25 with the handle opened to the ejecting position and partially extended into the outer tube.

FIG. 27 is a side cross section of FIG. 25 which is taken along line 27-27.

FIG. 28 is a partial sectional view of FIG. 26 taken along line 28-28.

FIG. 29 is a side elevation view of a dual ejector arm applicator illustratively for use with a catamenial tampon.

FIG. 30 is a side view of FIG. 29.

FIG. 31 is a top plan view of FIG. 29.

FIG. 32 is a bottom plan view of FIG. 29.

FIG. 33 is a side cross-section of FIG. 29 taken along line 3333.

F IG. 34 is a view of FIG. 33 with the handles opened to the ejecting position and partially extended into the outer tube.

FIG. 35 is a side cross-section of FIG. 33 taken along line 3535.

FIG. 36 is a side sectional view of FIG. 34 taken along line 36-36.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS While this invention has utilityin a wide variety of applications, it is intended to hereinafter describe various embodiments which are especially suitable for some specific end use applications. One such embodiment is adapted for routine cleansing or medicating the vagina.

This embodiment comprises an outer tube that is provided with an inner ejecting means slidably positioned therein. It also includes a plunger element having a central post which is covered with a layer of cured polymeric foam and has a handle which may be folded against the outer tube in a laterally spaced position. By the term layer is meant to describe a partial or continuous portion of cured polymeric foam which is affixed to the central post the covers all or a part of the post. As will be seen hereinafter, it is preferred to employ a bulbous shaped polymeric foam structure.

Referring now to the drawings, FIGS. I-12 show various views of an embodiment of the invention relating to a vaginal cleansing applicator which includes an ap plicator, suitably formed of a polymeric foam member. It is preferred to employ a polyether type of polyurethane foam to achieve extended shelf-life when the applicator is pre-impregnated with an aqueous composition. For convenience, the same reference numerals are used throughout to designate corresponding elements of all embodiments.

In FIGS. l7, the applicator is shown to include an outer tube whose main body cross-section is large enough to accommodate with moderate compression, a polymeric foam member 12 and which is sized so as to be capable of being comfortably introduced into the vestibule of the vagina. In its lower section, the outer tube 10 narrows down to form a relatively short tubular base 14 of relatively smaller crosssection which performs two functions. First, it provides with the adjunct of circumferential ridges 16 a convenient gripping surface and second, it forms a constricted area 18 which acts as a stop for the plunger element 20.

A relatively thin handle 22 is shown in FIGS. 6 and 7 in its extended or first position. FIGS. 1 and 2 show the relatively thin handle 22 in its second or closed position. This member is advantageously provided with structural blade 21 and reinforcing rib 23. FIG. 5 shows the relatively thin handle 22 in its second position and in phantom it shows the handle being rotated about hinge 24. Relatively thin handle 22 has at the end that is distal from the hinge 24, a cap 26, a top view of which is shown in FIG. 3. Cap 26 is provided with a lifting tab 27.

Plunger element which may be moved upwardly includes a lower support stem 28 and an upper axially disposed stem 30 which may have an irregular surface to facilitate frictional engagement of polymeric foam member 12. Axially disposed stem 30 is preferably provided with bulbous tip 32 which is intended to minimize the chance of pain, discomfort or injury if the applicator is pushed too hard or if the polymeric foam memberl2 becomed accidentally detached.

Lower support stem 28 is provided with a plurality of ribs which extend to contact the inner wall of relatively short tubular base 14. Ribs 34 and 36 may be seen in FIG. 4 where they are completely visible. Ribs 38, 40 and 42 are shown partially in phantom in FIG. 4 they are partially covered by lower retaining flange 44. The function of the ribs 34, 36, 38, 40 and 42, which may be seen in FIG. 4, is to provide multidirectional stability when lower support stem 28 is moved through short tubular base 14.

The relatively thin handle 22 is provided with locking protuberance 46 which engages receptacle 48 when said handle is in the ejecting or first position. Relatively thin handle 22 is also provided with a stop 50 which engages retaining flange 44 when said handle is pushed upwardly to eject the plunger element and associated polymeric foam member 12. As shown in FIG. 7, the relatively thin handle 22 is tapered toward its midsection 51 to provide a pressure zone to cooperate with stop 50. Also, said axially disposed stem should be made of a substantially flexible material and should extend into the polymeric foam member 12 only to the necessary and sufficient extent that will provide adequate assistance in the handling of the applicator.

Hinge 24 is formed by elevated projections on ribs 34 and 36 which mate with corresponding depressions on the elbow 52 of relatively thin handle 22.

The polymeric foam member 12 may be constructed of any resilient foam material such as foam rubber, vinyl foam, or most preferably, selected polyurethane foams. The polymeric foam member 12 is sized so that its expanded dimensions can preferably range between 4 inch and 1 /2 inches in diameter and from I /2 inches to 3 inches in length.

The polymeric foam member 12 is shown in FIGS. 8 and 9 in an expanded configuration which is normally assumed when the plunger element is pushed out of outer tube 10.

FIGS. 1320 illustrate an embodiment of the applicator of the invention which is adapted for single use application of contraceptive foams. In this embodiment, the outer tube 10, cap 26 and relatively thin handle 22 are essentially identical to the embodiment of FIGS. 1-12 as are the other features of the applicator except for the plunger element 20.

In FIG. 17, plunger element 20 is shown tightly engaged with the internal side walls of outer tube 10. Since this applicator is to be employed to eject a measured dose of foam, the sealing engagement of plunger element 20 is necessary to insure substantially complete ejection of the polymeric foam. This is shown in FIGS. 18 and 20 where the foam ]3 has been partially ejected by raising the plunger element. Foam contraceptive compositions suitable for use in these applicators are well known and may be selected from standard reference works and the patent literature. Medicaments for vaginal application to combat specific pathogenic conditions are also well known and may be formulated as foams, creams or gels to be used in connection with this applicator.

The embodiment of FIGS. l3-20 may be adapted to dispense almost any semi-solid composition, medicated or nonmedicated. When outer tube 10 is provided with a constricted neck, the applicator may be used for packaging toothpaste, semi-solid convenience foods such as cheeses, cake decorations and for household and industrial uses such as lubrication applicators for grease, shoe polish compositions, applicators for metal cleaning compositions and the like.

FIGS. 21-28 illustrate an applicator which is adapted to insert catamenial tampons. In this embodiment, the applicator is shown pre-loaded with a tampon in order to make it a complete article ready for use. The applicator comprises the outer tube 10, plunger element 20, and relatively thin handle 22. The hinge which is employed to permit folding relatively thin handle 22, is a stress relief indentation 25 which allows said handle to be moved from the first position of FIG. 26 to the second position of FIG. 25. This design is particularly adapted for use with cellulosic materials such as paper products or with thermoplastic materials such as polyethylene which are readily deformable in thin sections. The relatively thin handle 22 includes at its distal end a retention clip 54 which engages the top edge of outer tube 10 to hold relatively thin handle 22 in the second position so that said handle is in a substantially parallel relation to the axis of the outer tube.

Plunger element is preferably molded in one piece with the relatively thin handle 22. The plunger element 20 is designed so that there is a hollow space within the center portion which allow recall strings 56 to hang freely.

To operate the tampon applicator, the relatively thin handle 22 is unfastened from its second position where it is held in a substantiallyparallel position to the axis of outer tube 10 by retention clip 54. The relatively thin handle 22 is then moved to the first position as shown in FIG. 22, and after positioning the inserter in the vestibule of the vagina, the tampon is ejected by pressing on the relatively thin handle 22. Tampon 11 may be made of any absorbent material such as specifically processed composites of cellulosic fibers i.e. of paper or cotton which are well known in the art.

The embodiment set out in FIGS. 29-36 is analogous to the embodiment described in FIGS. 21-28 except that two relatively thin handles have been provided for ejecting the plunger element in the event it is desired to employ a relatively thin handle which does not have sufficient strength to eject a tampon when used alone. These are clearly shown in the second or closed position in FIG. 30 and in the first or extended position in FIG. 34.

The remaining features of this embodiment are identical with FIGS. 21-28 except that reinforcing ribs 24a have been employed in this embodiment to provide additional strength to the plunger element. A modified plunger element 20 has been employed that allows recall strings 56 to hang freely.

Also this embodiment is provided with means to prevent buckling of theinncr ejecting element. This means comprises four generally flat walls on the lower exter nal surface of plunger element 20. These cooperate with the four generally flat internal walls of relatively short tubular base 14 to impart enhanced structural rigidity to the applicator as the tampon is ejected. While this embodiment designed with four generally flat walls to prevent buckling, enhanced structural integrity may be achieved with less than four cooperating flat surfaces, i.e. one or two.

Other embodiments of the applicator may be oval, square, rectangular etc. in crosssection. Also hinge 24 may be made with metal pins or other metal reinforce-,

ments to achieve enhanced structural integrity.

Although the invention has been described with reference to the foregoing preferred embodiments, many modifications and variations may be made thereto without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention.

What is claimed is:

1. An applicator which comprises an outer tube, a grippable base extending downwardly from said outer tube and having a smaller cross section than said outer tube and an inner ejecting means coaxially located within said outer tube and having a plunger element,

said plunger element having at least one handle means hinged thereto at a point adjacent the bottom of said base and movable into a first position for sliding said plunger element within said outer tube and movable into a second position when the plunger element is retracted in said outer tube so that said handle means is laterally spaced in relation to the axis of the outer tube and including capping means to cover said outer tube opening when said handle is in said second position.

2. An applicator as recited in claim 1 wherein said handle means includes locking means to engage said outer tube opening when said handle is in said second position.

3. An applicator as recited in claim 1 wherein said plunger element includes a polymeric foam member which is extended from the outer tube of said applicator by sliding the plunger element through said outer tube.

4. An applicator as recited in claim 1 wherein said capping means hermetically seals the end of said outer tube.

5. An applicator as recited in claim 1 wherein said outer tube and said inner ejecting means are shaped so that said inner ejecting means may be mounted within said outer tube is slidable non-rotatable engagement with said outer tube.

6. An applicator as recited in claim 5 in which said ejecting means mounted within said outer tube in slidable, non-rotational engagement within said outer tube by means of a deformed surface on said ejecting means which mates with a correspondingly deformed surface on the interior of said outer tube.

7. An applicator as recited in claim 3 wherein said polymeric foam member is mounted on an axially disposed stem on said plunger element.

8. An applicator as recited in claim 1 wherein said plunger element is sized so that it sealingly engages the interior wall of said outer tube to permit ejection of liquids, semisolids or solids from the applicator.

9. An applicator as recited in claim 1 wherein said outer tube is constricted below the plunger element so as to provide a stop for said plunger element.

10. An applicator for the introduction of liquid, semisolid or solid substances into a body cavity, said applicator comprising an outer tube, a grippable base extending downwardly from said outer tube and having a smaller cross section than said outer tube and an inner ejecting means coaxially located within said outer tube and having a plunger element, said plunger element having at least one handle means hinged thereto at a point adjacent the bottom of said base and movable into a first position for sliding said plunger element within said outer tube and movable into a second position when the plunger element is retracted in said outer tube so that said handle means is laterally spaced in a substantially parallel relation to the axis of the outer tube and including capping means to cover said outer tube opening when said handle is in said second position.

11. An applicator as recited in claim 10 wherein said handle means includes a locking means to engage said outer tube opening when said handle is in said second position.

12. An applicator as recited in claim 10 wherein said plunger element includes a polymeric foam member which is extended from the outer tube of said applicator by sliding the plunger element through said outer tube.

13. An applicator as recited in claim wherein said capping means hermetically seals the end of said outer tube.

14. An applicator as recited in claim 10 wherein said outer tube and said inner ejecting means are shaped so that said inner ejecting means may be mounted within said outer tube in slidable non-rotatable engagement within said outer tube.

15. An applicator as recited in claim 14 wherein said ejecting means is mounted within said outer tube in slidable, non-rotational engagement within said outer tube by means of a deformed surface on said ejecting means which mates with a correspondingly deformed surface on the interior of said outer tube.

16. An applicator as recited in claim 12 wherein said polymeric foam member is mounted on an axially disposed stem on said plunger element.

17. An applicator as recited in claim 10 wherein said plunger element is sized so that it sealingly engages the interior wall of said outer tube to permit ejection of liquids, semi-solids or solids into a body cavity.

18. An applicator as recited in claim 17 that is adapted to be inserted into the vagina and includes a pre-measured dose of a contraceptive composition.

19. An applicator as recited in claim 16 wherein said polymeric foam is impregnated with a liquid or semisolid medicinal composition.

Patent Citations
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Referenced by
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Classifications
U.S. Classification604/17, 604/286
International ClassificationA61F13/26, A61M31/00, A61F13/20
Cooperative ClassificationA61F13/263, A61M31/00
European ClassificationA61M31/00, A61F13/26A