US 3854625 A
This invention pertains to an apparatus for dispensing articles of uniform size, such as, tablets, pills and the like. An outer housing encloses a dispensing member. The dispensing member comprises an upper and lower portion. The lower portion includes a cavity for placement of a plurality of the articles to be dispensed and an opening in one end thereof for dispensing articles from the apparatus. The upper portion includes a button protruding external of the outer housing for translating the dispensing member from a first position to a second position when depressed and spring bias means for applying constant dispensing pressure to the articles. A second spring bias means is also provided to return the dispenser from the second position to the first position when the depressed button is released. A retaining member is provided on the inner end of the outer housing opposite from the button for allowing a single article to be dispensed when the dispenser is in the second position and ready the next single article for dispensing when the button is released and the dispensing member returns to its first position.
Claims available in
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent [191 Kuebler [451 Dec. 17, 1974 DISPENSING APPARATUS  Inventor: Ervin L. Kuebler, 589 N. Johnson Ave., El Cajon, Calif. 92021  Filed: Feb. 13, 1974  Appl. No.: 438,331
 US. Cl 221/198, 221/279, 221/307  Int. Cl B65h l/00  Field of Search... 221/197, 198, 226, 228-230, 221/232, 247, 250, 267, 279, 280, 303, 221/306-311, 200, 299-301, 264; 133/5 A  References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,520,321 8/1950 McDonald et al 133/5 A 2,885,110 5/1959 Tregilgas 221/279 2,885,116 5/1959 Tregilgas 221/198 Primary ExaminerRobert B. Reves Assistant ExaminerH. Grant Skaggs Attorney, Agent, or Firm-Frank D. Gilliam [5 7 ABSTRACT This invention pertains to an apparatus for dispensing articles of uniform size, such as, tablets, pills and the like. An outer housing encloses a dispensing member. The dispensing member comprises an upper and lower portion. The lower portion includes a cavity for placement of a plurality of the articles to be dispensed and an opening in one end thereof for dispensing articles from the apparatus. The upper portion includes a button protruding external of the outer housing for translating the dispensing member from a first position to a second position when depressed and spring bias means forapplying constant dispensing pressure to the articles. A second spring bias means is also provided to return the dispenser from the second position to the first position when the depressed button is released. A retaining member is provided on the inner end of the outer housing opposite from the button for allowing a single article to be dispensed when the dispenser is in the second position and ready the next single article for dispensing when the button is released and the dispensing member returns to its first position.
13 Claims, 6 Drawing Figures DISPENSING APPARATUS BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION The invention relates to an apparatus for dispensing objects of uniform shape and in particular relates to dispensers for dispensing tablets, pills or the like.
A great many people have the requirement or need to periodically ingest tablets, pills or similar items for medicinal or dietary purposes This creates a need for containers to safely and sanitarily storing these items on the person until such a time that ingesting is required.
These containers must necessarily be small in size and light in weight for ease of concealment and portability. A large variety of vile or box type containers are commonly available. These are generally bulky and consequently hard to conceal and have common disadvantage of accidently becoming open from rubbing contact with the person or article in which they are carried. This accidental opening of the container causes the contents to spill, thus becoming unsanitary or lost. An additional disadvantage is the fact that they look like what they are to the causal observer. A large number of people are embarrassed when observed by other people as having a requirement to take medication or the like when the need arises.
Earlier unsuccessful attempts were made to solve these problems. One earlier device attempted to solve these problems by housing the medication or the like in a dispenser having the appearance of a pen or pencil. This attempt was not entirely satisfactory and the device found little or no use because of its complexity and expense in manufacturing. It encountered repeated failurebecause of its complexity and the additional requirement of disks made from a foreign substance separating each of the items to be dispensed.
These and other problem in discrete dispensing apparatus had not been satisfactorily resolved until the emergence of the instant invention.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The invention both as to its organization and methodof operation, as well as additional advantages thereof, will be more readily apparent from the reading of the following description in connection with the accompanying drawings in which:
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is an outside view of the dispenser.
FIG. 2 is a prospective sectional view of an embodiment of the device for dispensing tablets with the dispensing member. in the stowed or non-dispensing position.
FIG. 2a is an enlarged cross-section of the dispensing end of the device of FIG. 2.
FIG. 3 is a prospective sectional view of the device of FIG. 2 in the deployed or dispensing position.
FIG. 4 is a prospective view of an embodiment of the device for dispensing pills.
FIG. 5 is a showing of a disposable cartridge of dispensable items.
DESCRIPTION Referring now to FIG. 2, the dispensing device has an outer housing 12 shaped to resemble on ordinary pen or pencil and may include a clip 14 for holding the dispensing device 10 in the pocket of the user. The housing 12 is formed from inexpensive material such as plastic, metal alloy or the like. The housing 12 may' be of a one piece construction as shown in FIG. 4 joined to lower portion 16 by threads 18 at substantially the mid section of housing 12. The two portions 14, 16 of the housings may be interconnected by any other convenient means such as a friction held slide connection or the like not shown.
The upper dispenser member 20 is provided with a button 22 on its upper surface. The button 22 is slideably engaged with housing 12 through an aperture 24 in the top centerportion. Within the upper dispenser member 20'is a coil spring 26' positioned between the top inside surface 28 beneath the button 22 and the top outer surface 30 of the inner housing 32.
Within inner housing 32 is a second coil spring 34 positioned against the inside top of inner housing 32 and 'for receiving and storing the articles 42 to be dispensed. Near the top end 44 of bottom dispenser member 38 is a lip 46 for retaining the top of a coil spring 48. The bottom of coil spring 48 is retained by the small diameter portion 50 of the lower portion 16 of outer housing 12. The end 52 of the lower dispenser member 38 is preformed in a normally flaired configuration as shown in FIGS. 3 and 4. The preforming of the lower dispenser member 38 can be accomplished by any known means such as heat and pressure after the lower dispenser member 38- is initially formed or by pour molding, injection molding or like means when lower dispenser member 38- is being originally formed. When flaired end 52 is formed a slightly concave portion 54 is also formed. In some instances, depending on the shape of the article 42 to be dispensed and the type of material used in the fabrication of the dispenser members 20, 40, a plurality of slits 56 may be required between end 52 of the lower dispenser member 40 and concave portion 54. The slits are to insure the proper configuration of end 52 and concave portion 54 when end 52 is deformedas shown in FIG. 2 and is hereinafterexplained. The distance between the concave portion 54 and the flaired end 52 is critical. This distance should 'be slightly greater than the height of 42 so as to allow the bottom most 42 to be free of concave portion 54 for dispensing while the second bottom most 42 is held securely to prevent dispensing at the same time.
discussed. In addition, the material must have memory so that when the dispenser member 38 is in the stowed or non-dispensing position of FIG. 2, the semi-flaired portion 52 is compressed inward by retainer 58 to the extent that slits 56 are closed along their entire length as shown in FIGS. 2 and 2a. When the lower dispensing member 38 is in the FIG. 3 or 4 position the semiflaired end portion 52 must again return to its preformed semi-flaired condition. There are numerous plastics and other materials that have this required property.
At the lower dispensing end 60 of outside housing 12 the diameter 62 is slightly greater than the diameter of portion 64 that has sliding contact with the lower dispensing member 38 to insure the centering of lower dispenser member 38 when translated within housing 12 for more precise movement. Housing retainer 58 has an inside diameter less than the inside diameter of lower dispensing end 60 The retainer number may be formed as part of the housing 12 or later inserted as a separate item, such as, in the apparatus of the FIG. 4 showing.
When the FIG. 4 apparatus is initially assembled the objects 42 are inserted by dropping them through the opening formed at 52 and then installing separate retainer 58 to prevent there uncontrolled release. The retainer 58 could be in the form of a ring fittinginto preformed receiver in housing 12 not shown.
Referring now to FIG. 5, the lower dispensing member 38 is shown removed from the lower portion 16 of outer housing 12. The removal is accomplished by-disassembling portions 14 and 16 at their connection 18, inserting portion 16 and then allowing dispensing member 38 to slide freely out of 16. The opposite operation performed when the cavity 40 of lower dispenser 38 is refilled with more articles or a new prefilled lower dispenser 38 is installed, This easily removal portion provides ease of refilling as the insertion of pre-filled lower dispensers 38. A protected end 66 is shown, this is removed and discarded just prior to inserting 38 for use.
OPERATION Prior to use the cavity 40 must be filled with the items 42 to be dispensed as hereinbefore described. When the apparatus is of the type shown in FIG. 4, that is one sealed when manufactured, the cavity must be filled during manufacture. When the apparatus is of the type shown in FIGS. 2 and 3, it is taken apartand the cavity 40 is either filled manually or a pre-filled disposable lower dispenser member 38 is inserted. The assembly is then reassembled and ready for use.
To dispense a tablet, pill or the like 42, button 22 of the upper dispenser member 14, as shown in the FIG. 2 in its pre-dispense position, is depressed downwardly until the top of the button is flush with the' top of the outer housing 12.
Upper dispenser member 14 is translated downward which because of its abutting relationship with the lower dispenser member 38 at top end 44 likewise translates lower dispenser'member 38 downward.
As the lower dispenser member 38 translates downward spring 48 compresses and the lower semi-flaired end portion 52 is allowed to return to its pre-formed semi-flaired configuration as the retainer member 58 is now positioned above the upper end of the slit 56 and does not deform normally flaired end 52 inward. When end portion 52 again flaires and the slit 56 opens the bottom most item 42 to be dispensed is allowed to pass through the end opening 52, 60, and be dispensed. The plunger 36 resting on the upper most item 42 to be dispensed is biased downward, as hereinbefore noted. by bias springs 26, 34, to insure that sufficient pressure is applied to the items to force them downward to aid in dispensing. Referring now to FIGS. 3 and 4, when the button 22 is flush with the top of outer housing 12, concave portion 62 returns to its preformed configuration restricting the now bottom most article 42 in lower dispenser member 38 from also being dispensed.
When button 22 is released the now compressed spring 48 confined between 46, 50 relaxes forcing the upper and lower dispenser members 20, 38 to return to their FIG. 2 position. In the FIG. 2 position, the semiflaired end 52 of the lower dispensing members is again inward and reformed to a smaller diameter by retainer member 58 so that the opening 52 is less than the diameter of the items 42 to be dispensed. The forcing inward of the lower semi-flaired portion 52 by the retainer member 58 further causes the concave portion 54 to become rectilinear or slightly convex providing an enlarged opening at 54 having a greater diameter than the item 42 to be dispensed. The expansion of the concave portion 54 allows the lower most item 42 held in the FIG. 3 position of the lower dispensing member 38 to be now released and to be held by the deformed reduced diameter of end 52.
The apparatus is now ready to dispense the second bottom most item 42. The dispensing can be continued in this manner until all of the items 42 are dispensed.
The apparatus as shown in FIGS. 2 and 3 can now be refilled for further use andthe apparatus shown in FIG. 4 canbe discarded.
The improved dispensing apparatus described herein and constructed according to the invention is relatively simple in construction and provides an inexpensive and efficient means for dispensing uniform shaped objects.
It will be apparent that while the drawings and specifications illustrate two embodiments of the invention that variations may be made in the style, construction claims without departing from the purposes and intentions of the invention.
What is claimed is:
1. An apparatus for dispensing objectsof uniform size comprising:
a hollow outer housing-having an upper portion with an aperture therethrough and a lower portion with an inner retaining member positioned inward from an outer open'end, said open endhaving a larger diameter than said inner retaining member;
a movable dispensing member disposed within said hollow outer housing and movable from afirst position to a second position said dispensing member comprising an upper portion forming an operating button, said button passing through said aperture and has sliding engagement therewith for translating said dispensing member downwadly when depressed and a lower. portion having a cavity of uniform diameter for storing a plurality of loose fitting objects for dispensing, a normally restrictive inner wall portion having a smaller diameter than said cavity and a normally flaired outer lip having a larger diameter than said cavity, when said dispensing member is in said first position said inner retaining member is positioned adjacent the normally flaired lip for applying inward pressure thereto for deforming same to a diameter less than said cavity thereby restricting the dispensing of the bottom most object in said cavity and the deforming of said normally flaired lip causes said normally restrictive inner wall portion to bow outwardly to a diameter .equal to said cavity thereby allowing unrestricted movement of the objects therethrough and when said operating button is depressed, said dispensing member moves downwardly to said second position placing said normally flaired lip below said inner retaining member thus allowing said normally flaired lip to return to its original configuration for releasing said bottom most object and allowing said restrictive inner wall portion to return to its normal configuration for retaining the now bottom most object and preventing its release therethrough. 2. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the distance between said retaining member and said open end is greater than the height of said objects to be dispensed.
3. The apparatus of claim 2 wherein said hollow outer housing includes a guide member positioned inwardly from said inner retaining member for guiding the translation of said dispensing member.
4. The apparatus of claim 2 wherein said lower portion of said dispensing member additionally comprises a plurality of equally spaced slots with progressively diminishing width originating at said normally flaired outer lip and terminating at said normally restrictive inner wall portion.
5. The apparatus of claim 4 wherein said slots are substantially closed when said movable member is in said first position.
6. The apparatus of claim 2 additionally comprising a compressable coil spring surrounding said movable member and retained thereby at one endthereof and retained at the other end by said lower portion of said hollow outer casing for returning said movable member from said second position wherein said spring is compressed to said first position wherein said spring is relaxed when said depressed operating button is released.
7. The apparatus of claim 2 wherein said objects to be dispensed are spherical.
8. The apparatus of claim 2 wherein said outer casing comprises a removeably engaged upper and lower portion.
9. The apparatus of claim 8 wherein the engagement of said upper and lower portion is by threaded means.
10. The apparatus of claim 9 wherein said upper portion of said dispensing member additionally comprises downward biasing means applying dispensing pressure on said objects to be dispensed.
11. The apparatus of claim 10 wherein said downward biasing means comprises a first coil spring within said upper portion of said dispensing member and positioned between the inner side of said operating button and the upper outer end portion of a plunger housing, a second coil spring positioned between the upper inside of said plunger housing and the top surface of a plunger positioned within said plunger housing with the lower end of said plunger applying constant downward pressure on the upper most item to be dispensed.
12. The apparatus of claim 11 wherein the lower portion of said movable dispensing member is removable.
13. The apparatus of claim 12 wherein said objects to be dispensed are tablets.