US 3836044 A
A bulk package for individually dispensing substantially wet sheets from a stack of such sheets, including a container removably receiving the stack and having a cover which, when closed, forms a substantially moisture-proof seal between the container and the atmosphere, and a barrier member overlying the stack of wet sheets and interposed between the stack and the cover and having a sheet restricting opening therein through which the wet sheets may be individually and successively removed when the cover is opened.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent 1 Tilp et a1.
[ Sept. 17, 1974 1 BULK PACKAGE INCORPORATING MOVABLE DISPENSER INSERT FOR INDIVIDUAL DISPENSING OF SUBSTANTIALLY WET SHEETS FROM STACK  Inventors: Robert Tilp, Morristown; William E. Fitzpatrick, Wyckoff; Robert B. Cubitt, Ramsey, all of NJ.
 Assignee: Rapid-American Corporation, New
 Filed: July 28, 1972  Appl. No.: 274,135
 US. Cl. 221/55, 206/57 R, 220/17, 220/31 S, 220/22.3, 221/63  Int. Cl B65h 1/00  Field of Search 221/33, 36, 38, 41, 45, 221/47-52, 55, 65, 63; 206/57 R; 220/17, 31 S, 22.3
 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 764,188 7/1904 Hamer 221/48 1,533,318 4/1925 lhling 220/17 2,191,434 2/1940 Alder 220/17 2,370,928 3/1945 Baldanza 2211/17 2,854,134 9/1958 Humphrey 221/46 3,266,666 8/1966 Nelson 221/48 3,343,716 9/1967 Pcebles 1. 221/52 3,346,141 10-1967 Phcrson et a1. 21/48 3,499,575 3/1971) Rockefeller 221/55 FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLlCATlONS 26,448 1 H1913 Great Britain 221/48 Primary Examiner-Stanley H. Tollberg Assistant ExaminerH. Grant Skaggs, Jr.
Attorney, Agent, or FirmStewart J. Fried; Jeffrey A. Schwab; Michael A. Caputo  ABSTRACT A bulk package for individually dispensing substantially wet sheets from a stack of such sheets, including a container removably receiving the stack and having a cover which, when closed, forms a substantially moisture-proof seal between the container and the atmosphere, and a barrier member overlying the stack of wet sheets and interposed between the stack and the cover and having a sheet restricting opening therein through which the wet sheets may be individually and successively removed when the cover is opened.
10 Claims, 10 Drawing Figures BULK PACKAGE INCORPORATING MOVABLE DISPENSER INSERT FOR INDIVIDUAL DISPENSING OF SUBSTANTIALLY WET SHEETS FROM STACK CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION This application is directed to a preferred embodiment of the product described in US. Pat. No. 3,780,908. in the names of William E. Fitzpatrick, Leonard Berger and Hayward B. Auerback and entitled Bulk Package for Individual Dispensing of Substantially Wet Sheets from Stacks.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention relates to the bulk packaging and convenient individual dispensing of substantially wet sheets, tissues or towelettes such as may be utilized for personal hygiene, for cosmetic purposes, household cleaning applications-or the like. More particularly, it relates to a dispenser for individually popping-up and dispensing such wet sheets, overcoming the relatively high attractive forces between the wetted sheets which tend to resist individual dispensing and produce chaining thereof, and from which dispenser any number of the wet sheets may be removed or replaced at will.
In the following specification and in the claims appended hereto, all references to wet or substantially wet sheets are intended to refer to sheet materials so wetted by an aqueous or other desired treatment medium that when they are wiped across a surface it is streaked by the liquid medium. The wet sheets employed in accordance herewith are believed to possess sufficient moisture contents (aqueous or otherwise) to form surface films thereon. It is postulated that the surface tension of hese films produces the substantial forces between the wet sheets preventing sequential dispensing of the individual sheets employing conventional means.
On the other hand, the wet sheets dispensed from the bulk package hereof are not loaded with moisture contents exceeding their holding capacities by more than a small quantity, i.e., ideally the amount of free liquid in the package, if any, should not exceed about percent by volume of the container. In one preferred embodiment, employing aqueous treatment media and a selected absorbent paper toweling stock, the wet sheets hereof may typically have liquid contents of from about 80 to 500 percent, preferably about 100-400 percent, of their total weight. Materials thus wetted have a softer feel than their dry counterparts and can transfer sufficient liquid to wet other surfaces to effect the desired cleansing or like functions.
As further used herein, the term sheet will be understood to comprehend liquid-holding papers or similar sheet materials composed, for example, of paper, rayon or other cellulosics,vnylons, polyesters, polyoletins, vinyl polymers, polyurethanes and the like, or mixtures of the aforesaid or similar materials. Such sheets may comprise creped, flat, woven or non-woven materials and may be provided in the form of single or multiply tissues, towelettes, or the like.
By popping-up or pop-up of the substantially wet sheets is meant the automatic presentation of each successive wet sheet for readily accessible manual grasping and withdrawal, upon removal of each preceding wet sheet. Utilizing the dispenser of the present invention, which includes a barrier member having a sheet restricting opening through which each of the successive wet sheets must be dispensed, such sheets are considered to pop-up when at least about one-half inch, and preferably at least about one inch, of each successive wet sheet is thus presented through the restricting opening, chereby facilitating ready manual grasping thereof.
As disclosed in the aforesaid copending application, wetted tissues, towelettes or the like have, in recent years, achieved substantial consumer acceptance. By and large, products of this nature have taken the form of individual units, each sheet being folded into a compact shape and sealed within an impermeable foil or plastic package (see, for example, Williams US. Pat. No. 3,057,467 granted on Oct. 9, 1962). To permit use, the outer package must be opened, and the individual sheet removed and unfolded. For a number of reasons, including the relatively substantial cost of such individually wrapped wet sheets and the relative inconvenience of removing and unfolding the sheets from the individual packages, these individual unit packages have not been widely adopted for many purposes for which they might otherwise be suitable.
The need for more convenient commercial forms of pre-wetted tissues or towelettes has not been ignored, a number of prior workers having proposed products for the bulk packaging and individual dispensing of such wet sheets. Bulk packages so proposed have utilized either rolls of wet sheets defined, for example, by perforations in a suitable web stock, or stacks of wetted sheets pre-folded to facilitate dispensing. Such dispensers for this purpose are disclosed, for example, in Cordis US. Pat. Nos. 3,310,353 and 3,365,522 granted Mar. 21, l967 and Feb. 13, 1968, respectively, Rockefeller US. Pat. No. 3,499,575 granted on Mar. 10, 1970; and French Pat. No. 2,061,000 published on June 18, l97l.
The bulk dispensers disclosed in the noted patents are subject to a number of disadvantages. First, those which involve dispensing of the wet sheets from rolls (Cordis and the French patent) may be subject to uneven tearing or, on the other hand, to chaining, of the individual sheets, and are generally relatively complex and difficult to use. The dispenser of the French patent, for example, requires uncoiling a continuous web from the inside of the roll, resulting in some instances in dispensing of a twisted rope? therefrom. Moreover, application of the wet sheet stock in roll form is relatively inflexible since, unlike stacks of the wet sheets, individual groups of sheets may not be readily separated from the roll for use in travel or pocket packs or the like.
On the other hand, previously described bulk packages for dispensing wet sheets from stacks (one of the Cordis embodiments, as well as the Rockefeller product) have not provided for the pop-up of successive sheets to be removed from the stack, do not facilitate easy manual grasping of the individual wet sheets, and thus require considerable manual dexterity to effect dispensing of the successive sheets. These and other disadvantages implicit in previously described bulk dispensers for the individual dispensing of wet sheets are more fully set forth in the aforesaid copending application, the disclosure of which is incorporated by this reference thereto.
The bulk packaging in stack form of dry sheets or tissues is, of course, also known. Sheets so packaged may be inter-folded so as to successively pop-up upon dispensing of each prior sheet or tissue. Dry tissue dispensers of this type are legion in the patent art and are embodied in most commmercial cleaning or facial tissue dispensers. As further set forth in the aforesaid copending application, such dispensers include products such as that described in Bilezerian U.S. Pat. No. 3,325,003 granted June 13, 1967 for dispensing tissues which have been impregnated with aromatic or other medicated materials and which dispense as essentially dry tissues.
It should be noted that while prior workers have recognized the need for bulk packaging and individual dispensing of wetted sheets and suggested several products for this purpose, they have avoided adopting the expedients previously utilized in the dry tissue art for individually dispensing dry sheets or tissues. Indeed, the very failure of those in the wet sheet dispensing art to attempt to utilize techniques employed for dispensing dry tissues in indicative of the distinct problems encountered in the bulk packaging and individual dispensing of wet sheets as distinguished from dry sheets. This is the case since the liquid films formed between inter-folded wet sheets create substantial adhesion between the adjacent sheets while, on the other hand, dry inter-folded sheets may be readily separated from one another by the force of gravity alone. Hence, chaining of adjacent sheets is a major problem in the individual dispensing of wetted sheets but is insignificant in regard to the dispensing of dry sheets.
Further, the use of dispensing or control elements or inserts to insure and maintain pop-up of each successive tissue withdrawn from a dry tissue dispenser is consistent with the preceding explanation regarding the gravity separation of dry tissues. The basic purpose of such inserts is to increase the frictional engagement between successive tissues withdrawn from the dispenser in order that the first such tissue draws the next tissue with it through the container opening and prevents the latter from falling back into the container or carton. With wet tissues, on the other hand, there is no need to increase adhesion between the successive wet sheets to insure pop-up; to the contrary, the problem is to overcome adhesion between the successive sheets to facilitate sequential dispensing thereof, without tearing any of the individual sheets. Thus, the floating inserts employed in many dry tissue dispensers are not designed to separate strongly adherent sheet materials. On the other hand, the biasing of dry stacked sheets against fixed dispensing inserts has also been suggested in the patent literature; the pressures thus produced would, however, impair the separation and sequential pop-up and dispensing of strongly adherent, wetted sheets from stacks thereof. The dispensing of dry sheets from stacks thus does not take into account the essential balancing of forces necessary for the sequential, independent pop-up and dispensing of wetted stacked sheets.
It is among the objects of the present invention to provide for the improved bulk packaging and individual dispensing of wet, stacked sheets from a dispenser which is simple and economical to manufacture, which is so designed that it may be utilized for the successive dispensing of the individual wet sheets without chaining, and yet the design of which permits periodic removal or replacement of any number of the wet sheets for convenient consumer use.
A further object of the invention is to provide a wet sheet dispenser which is designed to accomplish the preceding purposes and which is so sturdy and rugged in construction that it may be frequently disassembled and reassembled for removal or replacement of portions of the wet sheet stacks without materially decreasing the useful life of the product.
Other objects and advantages of the invention will be apparent from the following description of a specific embodiment thereof.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION In accordance herewith, there is provided a preferred form of the bulk package disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 3,780,908 for individually dispensing substantially wet sheets from a stack of such sheets. Such package includes the stack of wet sheets, a container removably receiving the stack and-having a cover incorporating means for forming a substantially moisture-proof seal between the interior of the container and the atmosphere, and a barrier overlying the stack of wet sheets within the container and having a sheet restricting opening therein through which the wet sheets may be individually and successively removed when the cover is opened.
In accordance with the present invention, the barrier member comprises an insert normally disposed at a fixed position within the container but so movable with respect to the fixed position to permit access to the interior of the container. The insert is provided with mounting means, and cooperating supporting means are provided on the container, for supporting and maintaining the insert at the fixed position within the container with the sheet restricting opening overlying the faces of the superposed wet sheets and defining adjacent sheet engaging surface means imposing frictional forces on the successive sheets removed therethrough sufficient to overcome the forces resisting separation of such sheets yet not so large that the forces required for removal will tear any of the sheets or displace the insert from its normally fixed position. The mounting and supporting means for the insert nevertheless permit manual displacement or removal of the insert from the container to remove or replace all or a portion of the stack of wet sheets therein.
There is thus provided a relatively simple yet efficient structure for removably and replaceably storing and individually and sequentially dispensing the successive wet sheets. The sheet restricting opening in the dispenser insert produces sufficient friction to overcome adhesion between the successive wet sheets to be removed from the stack and thus facilitates dispensing in pop-up fashion without chaining. On the other hand, the configuration of the restricting opening and the means supporting and mounting the displaceable or removable insert within the container are such that the forces required for removing the wet sheets are not such as to displace or remove the insert from the container. Moreover, the insert is so mounted that it may be manually displaced or removed and thereafter replaced to facilitate replacement of the stack therein as desired. The dispenser may thus be provided in any suitable size or configuration for industrial, home, purse or pocket use, and portions of the stacks of wetted sheets used therein may be removed as aforesaid for use in smaller bulk dispensers, e.g., for pocket or travel packs. Refill stacks of wet sheets may be readily adapted for use with the dispenser for repeated and prolonged use.
The supporting and mounting means for the dispenser insert thus perform a unique set of functions, serving both to maintain the barrier in operative relation to the stack of wet sheets and yet permitting manual removal of the insert for refill or like purposes. On the one hand, the forces exerted upon removal of the successive sheets through the sheet restricting opening create both unidirectional and torsional forces on the insert, which must be balanced to maintain the insert in its operative position. On the other hand, the insert must be so mounted that it can be frequently manually displaced or removed from the container by the average user without adversely permanently stressing the container walls and thus materially decreasing the useful life of the product. Since frequent displacement or removal of the insert may tend to bend the container walls outwardly or otherwise alter or deform the engaging surfaces of the insert and the container, it is important that the cooperating supporting and mounting means be so designed as to effect this conflicting set of functions.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS The invention will be more fully understood when considered in connection with the specific embodiment described hereinafter in connection with the accompanying drawings in which:
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the bulk package showing the container with the stack of wet sheets removed, and the dispenser insert in exploded relation to indicate the internal structure of the container;
FIG. 2 is a frther perspective view of the bulk package, with the cover shown in its closed position;
FIG. 3 is an enlarged partial vertical section taken along the line 3-3 in FIG. 2, showing details of the dispenser insert and cover;
FIG. 3A is a detailed view showing the vdetent system securing the dispenser insert within the container as shown in FIG. 3;
FIGS. 4 and 5 are further enlarged partial vertical sections, taken along lines 44 and 55, respectively, of FIG. 2, and showing details of the dispenser insert, cover, and hinge structures;
FIG. 6 is a perspective view similar to FIG. 1 but showing the dispenser insert in assembled relation with the leading edges of a topmost wet sheet extending through the restricting opening thereof, and the walls of the container being partially cut away to show the stack of wet sheets therein; and
FIGS. 7A7C show, in partial, diagrammatic crosssection, three sequential stages of the removal of two successive wet sheets from the stack incorporated in the bulk package.
PREFERRED EMBODIMENT OF THE INVENTION Referring to the drawings, and with initial reference to figs. l and 6 in particular, the preferred embodiment of the bulk package illustrated comprises a stack 13 of substantially wet sheets removably and replaceably stored in and dispensed from a container shown generally at 14. The container is provided with integrally formed bottom and upstanding walls in the form of a box-shaped member defining an enclosed volume prepared, for example, by molding or vacuum forming of a suitable plastic, e.g., polypropylene, or from a similar substantially moisture resistant and impermeable material. The container incorporates a cover 15 and has a barrier member or dispenser insert 16 overlying the stack and disposed between the stack and the cover. A sheet restricting aperture or opening 17 is defined in the insert 16. The individual edges and comers of the opening and the surfaces proximate thereto provide frictionally engaging means effecting separation of the substantially wet sheets and facilitating pop-up of each successive sheet as it is withdrawn from container 14.
The individual sheets 18 within stack 13 may, as indicated hereinabove, comprise any suitable sheet material capable of absorbing and/or adsorbing the bulk of the liquid impregnant utilized. The choice of the particular sheet material is related to the configuration and dimensions of the restricting opening 17 through which the sheets are successively removed from the bulk package, the composition of the impregnant, and the desired end use of the product. The liquid composition will, of course, also depend on the particular purpose for which the wetted sheets are to be used and may include water, mineral oil (for a baby lotion, for example), detergents or soaps, perfumes, surfactants, deodorants, or any other ingredients to be utilized for the particular cleansing, cosmetic or like application involved. When, for example, it is desired to market the dispenser as a source of vaginal cleansing towelettes, the wet sheets may suitably be constituted of an absorbent paper toweling stock having a wet tensile strength of at least about 0.5 lb./inch, preferably at least about 1.0 to 1.5 lbs/inch, of width in the direction of dispensing, impregnated with a substantially aqueous medium incorporating deodorants, bacterial and mold growth inhibitors, perfumes and the like, in minor proportions.
The stack 13 comprises a plurality of sheets 18, the faces F of which are arranged in substantial parallelism. Preferably, the individual sheets are inter-folded or interleaved with one another, the use of alternating V folds about the center lines of the respective interfolded sheets being illustrated in the drawings (FIGS. 6 and 7). Alternatively, the sheets may be otherwise interleaved (e.g., in a double or Z fold) in order that withdrawal of any sheet from container 14 through opening 17 draws the leading edges of the succeeding sheet through such opening. ln'yet a further embodiment, the stack of sheets may comprise a continuous zigzag strip so perforated that the individual sheets separate upon being withdrawn through the restricting opening. From the preceding it should be apparent that the particular manner of interfolding or inter-leaving the successive wet sheets within the bulk package hereof is not a critical element of the present invention and may be varied as desired.
The sheet restricting opening 17 in insert 16 is juxtaposed with the face F of the uppermost sheet 18a of the stack, disposed substantially parallel to such face and the corresponding faces or extended portions of the other sheets in he stack. The opening is noncoextensive with respect to the sheet and is defined by a generally diamondshaped cutout having a major axis X generally aligned with but shorter than the width of the sheets 18 (that dimension of the sheets which is presented to and constricted by the sheet restricting opening as each sheet is withdrawn therethrough) and a minor axis Y generally aligned with the length of the sheets (or, more particularly, the lengths of the two or more folded sections of each sheet defined within the stack). The term non-coextensive is intended to mean an opening dimensioned with respect to the sheet such that it engages the sheet passing therethrough with a significant frictional holding force to counteract outward sheet removal e.g., the major dimension of the opening is less than the corresponding width of the sheet passing therethrough.
When the uppermost sheet is pulled outwardly of the dispenser V in the top surface of the container the leading surfaces of the next succeeding sheet are in contact with the first sheet and are drawn thereby through the restricting opening 17 into frictional contact with one or more of the substantially unielding (i.e., frictionally engaging) edges and corners 19a-f defined by the walls of the insert. These surfaces comprise sheet engaging surfaces which produce a frictional force on the next succeeding sheet sufficient to overcome the force resisting separation of the two sheets yet not so large that the force required to remove the first sheet will tear either such sheet or remove the dispenser insert 16 from the container. Separation of the successive sheets is thus effected with the leading surfaces of the second sheet extending outwardly of opening 17 positioned for convenient manual grasping and removal from the package. It may be seen from the preceding that the leading surfaces of each successive sheet thus pop-up, extending outwardly of the container for ready grasping. It is not necessary for the user to insert his fingers into the container (as required, for example, in use of the Cordis and Rockefeller stack dispensers referred to hereinabove) to remove the sheets from the stack. On the other hand, the restricting opening is large enough to permit insertion of ones fingers for withdrawing the uppermost sheet of a new stack, for example.
In accordance with the present invention the dispenser insert 16 is so constructed and mounted at a fixed position within container 14 that it is not removed from the container upon application of the forces necessary to withdraw the successive sheets therefrom, yet at the same time is manually displaceable or removable to obtain access to the interior of the container, V in the top surface of the container e.g., for removal or replacement of all or a portion of the stack of wet sheets therein. For this purpose the dispenser insert is provided in the form of a tray-like member, e.g., of a molded plastic, incorporating front and rear elongated ribs 21 and corresponding elongated side ribs 22. Ribs 21 and 22 serve to stiffen the thin insert, the resulting relatively rigid member not distorting when the sheets are pulled therethrough and thus resisting displacement thereby. The provision of such ribs provides greater latitude in the choice of the thickness and configuration of insert 16 adjacent sheet restricting opening 17, thus facilitating design of the frictionally engaging surfaces which effect pop-up dispensing of the successive wet sheets from the stack.
A pair of spaced detents 23 defining mounting means are formed integrally with each side rib 22, the respective detents having tapering cross-sections (see FIGS. 3 and 3A) adapted to be received in and frictionally engage corresponding upstanding wall recesses 24 separated by intermediate reinforcing wall sections or septurns 30 of the adjacent container walls 20. By disposing the detents and recesses centrally of the sides of the insert and'the side walls of the container, removal of the insert is facilitated; this is the case since the central portions of the container side walls 20 may be manually bowed outwardly to the greatest degree thereby simplifying disengagement of the insert-container detent system when it is desired to remove the insert from the container.
A pair of spaced detents 23a and b is utilized rather than a single broader detent member, the pair of mating spaced recesses receiving the detents minimizing if not preventing permanent distortion of the container side walls 20 after prolonged use and consequent repeated removal and replacement of the insert in the dispenser. In the absence of the intermediate reinforcing wall or septum 30 between the spaced recesses 24a and b the container walls may crease and acquire a permanent deformation after prolonged use, ultimately weakening the locking engagement produced between insert 16 and container 14 by the detent system. Further, the provision of detents 23 having tapering or wedge-shaped cross-sections promotes the positive engagement between the dispenser insert and the container therefor. Hence, when the insert is placed in the container the detents act as camming surfaces and assist in seating the same within the mating recesses. When, on the other hand, the detents have been seated in the recesses the outward tapers of the detents aid in maintaining the detent system in operative engagement resisting both the torsional forces tending to push one side of the insert into the container as well as the outward unidirectional forces tending to remove the insert from the container during withdrawal of the successive wet sheets through the sheet restricting opening therein.
The detent system thus firmly and removably mounts and supports the insert 16 within the container 14 and retains the insert therein, notwithstanding the fact that the removal forces manually exerted on the wet sheets act on the insert as well, and the further fact that, after repeated removal with prolonged use, the container side walls may bow outwardly somewhat.
Molded columns or posts 25 are additionally formed integrally with and along the junctures of the adjoining walls of container 14; the plural posts 25, four of which are provided in the disclosed embodiment, terminate in upper surfaces or ledges 26 which define a substantially horizontal supporting surface for the dispenser insert 16. The supporting surface so provided, together with the spaced detent-recess members 23-24 locking the insert in place, resist the torsional forces acting upon the insert during wet sheet withdrawal therethrough, and maintain the same in its operative relation. The insert is thus positioned, resting on the ledges 26 and interlocked with the container housing by means of the mating detents 23 and recesses 24 at the opposite side surfaces thereof, with the posts 25 and recesses 24 formed in the container providing supporting means for the insert.
It will be noted that the mounting and supporting means described for insert 16 secure the same at a fixed position, spaced a distance L (see FIG. 7A) from the uppermost of the sheets 18 in the stack 13. By thus mounting the insert in spaced relation from the stack the successive inter-folded sheets may curl upon one another in the manner described hereinafter as they are successively withdrawn through the sheet restricting opening 17 to provide the desired pop-up dispensing. The spaced relation between the insert and the uppermost sheet in the stack is important to insure independent sequential dispensing of the several sheets; were, on the other hand, insert 16 to be disposed in contact with the uppermost sheet of the stack, it would be difficult, if not impossible, to remove such sheet without either tearing the same or producing chaining.
The cover 15, which may suitably comprise the same material as container 14, is secured to the body of the container by means of a flexible plastic hinge element 27 (FIGS. 1, The use of such a hinge is preferred since it provides a relatively simple, integral linkage for securing the cover to the container in such a manner that a substantially moisture-proof or impervious seal may be readily and efficiently created therebetween upon closing the cover.
The cover itself includes circumferentially extending wall portions 28 having interior shoulder elements 29 extending along all but the hinged side thereof. The shouldered wall portions 28 cooperate with and engage upstanding wall elements 31 formed integrally with the container body.
A plurality of detents 32 (three are shown in FIG. 1) are formed integrally along the front wall portion 28a of cover 15, adapted to fit over and cooperatively engage mating detents 33 formed on the corresponding front wall element 31a of the container body. By pressing the cover into engagement with the container with the detents 32 of the cover extending below and frictionally engaging the detents 33 of the container walls (FIG. 3), the respective wall sections 28 and 31 provide a substantially moisture-impervious sealing means (FIG. 3) between the container and the atmosphere. A further external ridge 34 may also be provided extending along the outer, front edge of cover to facilitate manual opening of the cover.
The mechanism of operation of the dispenser may be more fully understood in the light of the several stages involved in sequentially dispensing three successive wet sheets therefrom (FIGS. 7A-7C). Intially, the stack 13 is impregnated with the desired treatment liquid, either prior to placing the stack within the container (the dispenser insert 16 being removable and replaceable for that purpose), or directly within the container.
Preferably, employing an absorbent paper toweling stock for the wetted sheets, water as the treatment liquid, and utilizing an inter-folded stack of V-folded sheets as illustrative, the uppermost wet sheet 18a is withdrawn from container 14 by drawing the leading edges thereof through the sheet restricting opening 17, the adjacent surfaces of the wet sheet frictionally engaging edges 19a and b and corners 19c and f adjacent the opening as the sheet is drawn therethrough. As wet sheet 18a is drawn from the container it pulls with it the inter-folded leading portion of the succeeding sheet 18b (FIGS. 7A and B). The leading edges of sheet 18b are thus drawn through the sheet restricting opening 17 (FIG. 7B), ultimately engaging the opposite edges 19c and d and corners 19c and f adjacent the opening. As the withdrawal of sheet 18a is completed, the frictional drag exerted on sheet 18b by these edges and corners effects separation of the two sheets and facilitates independent removal of sheet 18a from the container without chaining.
When sheet 18b is similarly manually drawn from the container it pulls the leading surfaces of sheet 18c through the opening (FIG. 7C). The frictional drag imposed on sheet 18c by edges 19a and b and corners 1% and f facilitates separation and removal of sheet 18b without chaining with the succeeding sheet 18c. Sheet 18c may thereafter be withdrawn and the operation repeated to effect withdrawal, separation and removal of each succeeding wet sheet in the manner shown in the successive stages of FIG. 7.
In one particularly preferred embodiment of the bulk package of the invention, container 14 may be about 5 inches long by about 2 /2 inches deep by about 2 inches high, the dispenser insert may have a thickness of about one-sixteenth inch, and the restricting diamond-shaped opening 17 therein may be centered and have rounded corners, the length of each leg of the diamond being about I% inches, and the major and minor axes of the diamond being about 2 /2 and W2 inches long, respectively. The wet sheets may comprise the aboveidentified absorbent paper toweling stock having a wet tensile strength in the dispensing direction of from about 1.5 to 3.0 lbs/inch of width. They may be rectangular in shape, about 4 /2 inches by 4 /2 inches and interfolded about their respective center lines, and may be arranged in a stack of about such sheets, approximately 1% inches high. The sheets may be wetted by charging the container, with the stack therein, with a substantially aqueous solution containing minor amounts of emollients, detergents, bacterial and mold growth inhibitors, perfume additives, and the like, as indicated hereinabove.
The above-noted structures, dimensions and compositions refer to details of the specific embodiment described hereinabove and shown in the attached drawings, and are not intended as limiting. Thus, for example, the container 14 may be modified to incorporate a separate cover which need not be hinged to the container in the manner of cover 15 but which may merely engage the container by means of interlocking detents, rims or the like to form the desired substantially moisture-proof seal, and be readily and entirely removable therefrom. Alternatively, the insert member 16 may be displaceable yet not entirely removable from the container; for example, the insert may be hinged to the container in the same manner as the cover 15 and may pivot about the hinge to permit access to the interior of the container for removal or replacement of all or a portion of the stack of wet sheets. The insert may thus, in effect, provide an inner, apertured cover for the container.
Since the preceding and other changes may be made in the preferred embodiment of the bulk package and dispenser hereof without departing from the scope of the invention and since the invention is not restricted to the mechanism postulated hereinabove, it is intended that the preceding description should be construed as illustrative and not in a limiting sense.
What is claimed is:
1. In a bulk package for individually dispensing substantially wet sheets from a stack of such sheets, including the stack of wet sheets and a container removably receiving said stack, said container having integrally formed bottom and upstanding walls to provide a boxshaped member defining an enclosed volume openable along its top surface, a cover at said top surface having means for forming a substantially moisture-proof seal between the interior of the container and the atmosphere, and a barrier overlying the stack of wet sheets and mounted to said container proximate said top surface, said barrier having a sheet restricting opening therein through which the wet sheets within the enclosed volume may be individually and successively removed via the top surface when the cover is opened; the improvement which comprises:
a. said barrier comprising an insert normally disposed at a fixed position proximate said top surface within the container but manually movable with respect to said fixed position to permit interior access to the enclosed volume of the container via said top surface, and said insert including i. a non-coextensive sheet restricting opening disposed in overlying relation with respect to the faces of the respective superposed wet sheets in the stack and defining sheet engaging surface means adjacent thereto for frictionally engaging the successive sheets removed therethrough with forces sufficient to overcome the forces resisting separation of the successive wet sheets yet not so large that the force required to remove each successive wet sheet from the stack will tear any of the sheets or displace the insert from said fixed position, and
ii. mounting means on the insert adjacent the walls of the container; and
b. said container having supporting means for normally engaging said mounting means on the insert proximate said top surface with a retention force sufficient to balance the removal forces imparted to the insert by withdrawal of the successive sheets through said sheet restricting opening and thereby support and maintain the insert in said fixed position proximate said top surface; and
said supporting means being manually defeatable and disengaging from said mounting means on the insert by manual displacement of the insert from said fixed position proximate said top surface to effect access via said top surface to the enclosed volume and stack of wet sheets located therein.
2. The bulk package of claim 1, in which the supporting means on said container and the mounting means on said insert comprise cooperating detent means and recess means, and in which one of said container and said insert incorporates the detent means'and the other of said container and said insert incorporates the recess means for removably securing the insert in said fixed position within the container.
3. The bulk package of claim 1, in which the supporting means on said container comprises a number of ledges at a pre-selected height of the interior walls of the container, said ledges providing a substantially planar support for the insert and defining said fixed position of the insert within the container spaced from the uppermost sheet of the stack of wet sheets.
4. The bulk package of claim 1, in which the insert is a generally planar member having peripheral rib means extending transversely of the plane of the insert for imparting increased rigidity to the insert.
5. The bulk package of claim 1, including flexible hinge means integral with said cover and said container for mounting the cover on the container, and cooperating sealing means and detent means on each of the cover and the container, said hinge means, sealing means and detent means providing the substantially moisture-proof seal between the container and the atmosphere when the cover is in its closed position.
6. The bulk package of claim 1, in which the sheet restricting opening is defined by a generally diamond shaped aperture in said insert having a major axis substantially aligned with and shorter than the width of said sheets and a minor axis substantially aligned with the length of said sheets.
7. The bulk package of claim 1, in which said container is plastic and said insert is a relatively rigid plastic member removable from the container.
8. in a bulk package for individually dispensing substantially wet sheets from a stack of such sheets, including the stack of wet sheets and a container removably receiving said stack and having a cover incorporating means for forming a substantially moisture-proof seal between the interior of the container and the atmo sphere, and a barrier overlying the stack of wet sheets and having a sheet restricting opening therein through which the wet sheets may be individually and successively removed when the cover is opened; the improvement which comprises:
a. said container and said barrier comprising separate plastic members;
b. said barrier comprising a substantially planar insert normally disposed at a fixed position within the container spaced from the uppermost sheet in said stack of wet sheets but so movable with respect to said fixed position to permit access to the interior of the container, and said insert having i. a generally diamond-shaped aperture defining said sheet restricting opening and being disposed in overlying relation with respect to the faces of the respective superposed wet sheets in the stack, said aperture having a major axis generally aligned with and shorter than the width of said sheets and a minor axis generally aligned with the length of said sheets, sheet engaging surface means defined adjacent said aperture for frictionally engaging the successive sheets removed therethrough with forces sufficient to overcome the forces resisting separation of the successive wet sheets yet not so large that the force required to remove each successive wet sheet from the stack will tear any of the sheets or remove the insert from the container, iii. at least a pair of spaced detents integral with and disposed on opposite sides of said insert, and
iv. pairs of oppositely disposed elongated front and rear and side ribs formed integrally with said insert;
c. said container including i. at least a pair of recesses formed in the upstanding walls thereof and aligned with said detents for receiving and engaging the same,
ii. posts integrally formed with and extending lengthwise of the juncture of the adjacent walls of said container and having upper, substantially planar surfaces defining a supporting plane for positioning said insert at said fixed position, and
iii. a plurality of locking detents integrally formed on the walls of the container for engaging said cover; and
d. said cover icluding i. a flexible plastic hinge integral with said cover and said container for mounting the former to the latter,
ii. sealing surfaces for forming a seal with the container when the cover is in its closed position, and
iii. a plurality of locking detents integrally formed on said cover, aligned with the locking detents on said container for engaging the latter when the cover is in its closed position and holding the cover in such position to maintain the substantially moisture-proof seal between the interior of the container and the atmosphere;
the detents on said insert and the recesses and posts in said container supporting and maintaining the insert at said fixed position within the container when the successive sheets are removed therefrom through said sheet restricting opening yet permitting manual removal of the insert from the container for access to the interior thereof.
9. In a bulk package for individually dispensing substantially wet sheets from a stack of such sheets, including the stack of wet sheets and a container removably receiving said stack, said container being a box-shaped member openable along its top surface and having a cover at said top surface incorporating means for forming a substantially moisture-proof seal between the interior of the container and the atmosphere, and a barrier overlying the stack of wet sheets proximate said top surface, said barrier having a sheet restricting opening therein through which the wet sheets may be individually and successively removed when the cover is opened; the improvement which comprises:
a. said barrier comprising an insert normally disposed at a fixed position proximate said top surface within the container but manually movable with respect to said fixed position to permit access to the interior of the container, and said insert including:
i. a sheet restricting opening disposed in overlying relation with respect to the faces of the respective superposed wet sheets in the stack and defining sheet engaging surface means adjacent thereto for frictionally engaging the successive sheets removed therethrough with forces sufficient to overcome the forces resisting separation of the successive wet sheets yet not so large that the force required to remove each successive wet sheet from the stack will tear any of the sheets or displace the insert from said fixed position, and
ii. mounting means on the insert adjacent the walls of the container; and
b. said container having supporting means for normally engaging said mounting means on the insert proximate said top surface with a retention force sufficient to balance the removal forces imparted to the insert by withdrawal of the successive sheets through said sheet restricting opening and thereby support and maintain the insert in said fixed position proximate said top surface; and
said supporting means being manually defeatable and disengaging from said mounting means on the insert by manual displacement of the insert from said fixed position proximate said top surface to effect access to the stack of wet sheets;
c. said mounting means including at least two spaced detents integral with and disposed on each of a pair of opposte sides of said insert;
(1. said supporting means including corresponding recesses formed in the walls of said container and aligned with said detents for receiving said detents and removably supporting said insert;
e. a post integrally formed with and extending lengthwise of each pair of adjacent upstanding walls of the container and having an upper, substantially planar surface for further supporting said insert within the container; and
f. pairs of oppositely disposed elongated front and rear and side ribs formed integrally with said insert for bearing against the adjacent surfaces of said container;
said detents, recesses, posts and ribs being cooperatively arranged for removably supporting and maintaining the insert at said fixed position within the container.
10. The bulk package of claim 9, in which said detents are formed integrally with the respective side ribs of said insert, and in which each detent tapers upwardly and outwardly and terminates in a leading edge which is received in and engages the corresponding recess in the adjacent wall of said container.
UNITED STATES PATENT OFFICE CERTIFICATE OF CORRECTION Patent 3,836,044 Dated September 17, 1974 Robert F. Tilp et a1. Inventor(s) It is certified that error appears in the above-identified oatent and that said Letters Patent are hereby corrected as shown below:
On the cover sheet 175] insert William A. Behlert,
Roselle Park, N. J. w.
Signed and sealed this 4th day of February 1975.
M coY' M. GIBSON JR. 0. MARS ALL DANN A testing Officer commissloner of Patents