US 3854626 A
A container-dispenser for pills and the like having a normally air-tight, water-tight seal and a dispensing device adapted to discharge the pills individually. The dispensing device maintains the seal at all times except during actual discharge of a pill, and re-forms the seal automatically after each pill is discharged, and is adapted for easy, one-hand operation even by a person in extreme agitation amounting to panic. The device is especially designed for use with medications having highly volatile ingredients, and protects the medications against loss of potency resulting from exposure to the atmosphere.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent [191 Krechmar Dec. 17, 1974 PILL CONTAINER-DISPENSER  Inventor: Joseph Krechmar, 6001 W 53 Pl.,
Mission, Kans. 66202  Filed: Apr. 30, 1973  Appl. No.: 355,937
 US. Cl. 221/264, 221/273-  Int. Cl B65h 3/00  Field of Search 221/213, 263, 264, 268, 221/270, 272, 273; 206/42; 222/361, 505, 514, 265, 266
 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS I 4 497,906 5/1893 Bettini 221/264 589,386 8/1897 Gerhard. 222/361 2,434.993 1/1948 Dwyer 221/264 2,962,190 11/1960 Horland...., 221/263 3,270,915- 9/1966 Auer; 221/264 3,300,087 1/1967 Kuypers 221/273 3,752,370 8/1973 Davenport 222/514 FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS 9/1905 I Great Britain 222/361 141,474 4/1920 Great Britain 22l/263 Primary ExaminerDrayton E. Hoffman Assistant Examiner-H. Grant Skaggs Attorney, Agent, or Firm-J0hn A. Hamilton 1 ABSTRACT A container-dispenser for pills and the like having a normally air-tight, water-tight seal and a dispensing device adapted to discharge the pills individually. The
dispensing device maintains the seal at all times except during actual discharge of a pill, and re-forms the seal automatically after each pill is discharged, and is adapted for easy, one-hand operation even by a person in extreme agitation amounting to panic. The device is especially designed for use with medications having highly volatile ingredients, and protects the medications against loss of potency resulting from exposure to the atmosphere.
1 Claim, 8 Drawing Figures PILL CONTAINER-DISPENSER This invention relates to new and useful improvements in container-dispensers for pills, tablets, capsules and the like, and has particular reference to such a device for use in connection with medications having volatile ingredients.
Many medicinal pills, tablets, and the like do include highly volatile ingredients, perhaps the most noteworthy being the nitroglycerine tablets used for the treatment of heart ailments such as angina pectoris, and loss of potency thereof due to vaporization is a serious problem. Many persons afflicted with such ailments must keep .a supply of the tablets immediately available, preferably on their persons, for immediate, emergency use in the event of an attack, and the loss of potency of the medication, if a user has not kept his supply fresh between attacks, can have very serious consequences. Patients who must carry a supply of nitroglycerine tablets, for example, are commonly cautioned never to purchase more than a limited number of tablets at any one time, and to discard any unused tablets after a stated period of time, such as three months, in order to insure that their current supply will be at full potency whenever use thereof becomes necessary. Fed- 'eral authorities have also adopted strict requirements as to the storage of such medications, in order to guard and insure potency at the time of sale.
Accordingly, the principal object of the present invention is the provision of a container-dispenser for pills and the like which is water-tight and air-tight at all times except during the actual discharge ofa pill so that the pills may safely be retained and used for much longer periods of time, and from which the pills may be discharged one at a time by operation of a plunger disposed externally of the container.
Further objects are the provision of a device of the character described which can conveniently be carried in the pocket or purse, and in which the process of dispensing a pill can be performed with extreme ease and rapidity, with one hand, even in the dark, and even by persons in a state of panic, as heart patients often are when suffering an attack.
Other'objects are simplicity and economy of construction, and efficiency and dependability of operation.
With these objects in view, as well as other objects which will appear in the course of the specification, reference will be had to the accompanying drawing, wherein:
FIG. I is a front elevational view of a pill containerdispenser embodying the present invention,
FIG. 2 is a bottom view of the device as shown in FIG. 1,
FIG. 3. is a side elevational view of the device as shown in FIG. 1,
FIG. 4 is an enlarged sectional view taken on line IV-lV of FIG. 3, with parts left in elevation,
FIG. 5 is a fragmentary view similar to FIG. 4, showing the parts in the position assumed at the moment of dispensing a pill,
FIG. 6 is a sectional view taken on line VI-VI of FIG. 4, 1
FIG. 7 is a sectional view taken on line VIIVII of FIG. 4, and
FIG. 8 is a perspective view of the pill slide and operating plunger, shown in the relative operative position of FIG. 4.
Like reference numerals apply to similar parts throughout the several views, and the numeral 2 applies generally to the body portion of the containerdispenser. As shown, said body is generally rectilinear in form, having a cylindrical pill reservoir 4 formed vertically therein for receiving a number of pills 6 in stacked relation, said reservoir preferably being of only slightly larger diameter than said pills so that the pills will normally assume a stacked relation when deposited therein. The body member is preferably formed of a transparent material such as plastic or glass, in order to provide a clear view of its contents, but the material may be tinted, usually an amber color, to protect pills against deterioration when they are of types subject to deterioration or loss of potency by exposure to light of certain wavelengths.
At its upper end, reservoir 4 opens through an exteriorly threaded neck 8 of the body member, for insertion of the pills thereinto. The neck is normally closed by a cap 10 which is threaded on neck 8, and which is lined with a compressible gasket 12 providing an air-tight, water-tight seal against said neck. Attached at 14 to the inner surface of cap 10 is a helical spring 16 which extends downwardly into reservoir 4 and presses yieldably against the topmost pill 6 therein.
At its lower end, reservoir 4 opens into a passageway 18 formed transversely and horizontally in the body member, in spaced relation above the lower end thereof. To the left of the reservoir, as shown in FIG. 4, passageway 18 opens into a vertical passageway 20 formed in the body member. Passageway 18 opens through the right side of the body member, but its entrance is closed by plug 22. Passageway 20 is closed at its upper end and opens through the bottom of'the body member, but its entrance is closed by a plug 24. A pill discharge opening 26 is formed vertically in the body member, being of the same diameter as reservoir 4, but laterally offset to the right therefrom. Said discharge opening opens at its upper end into passageway 18, and at its lower end through the bottom of the body member.
Passageway I8 is generally rectangular in crosssectional contour, and carries movably therein a pill slide indicated generally by the numeral 28. Said slide is biased to the left by a helicalcoil'spring 30 carried in passageway 18 and compressed between the slide and plug 22. In this position, illustrated in FIG. 4, a vertically tapered wedge portion 32 of the slide (see FIG. 8) is pressed firmly into a similarly tapered portion of passageway 18. The tapered portion of the passageway, and hence also of the slide, completely encircles the lower end of reservoir 4, and hence provides an airtight, water-tight seal for the lower end of the reservoir, so long as the slide is pressed firmly to the left by spring 30. In this position of'the slide, a pill-receiving hole 34 formed vertically through the slide-is in registry with the lower end of the reservoir, and is of the same diameter as the reservoir. The slide is of sufficient vertical thickness to receive a single pill 6 therein, and the lowermost pill is therefore deposited in said hole, eitherby gravity, or by spring 16. Also, it will be seen that when the slide 28 is in its FIG. 4 position, its left end portion projects into vertical passageway 20, and its extreme left end is downwardly and outwardly bevelled as indicated at 36.
Carried slidably in passageway 20, above the extended end of slide 28, is a plunger 38, the lower end of which engages the bevel 36 of the pill slide, and is bevelled correspondingly as indicated at 40. Fixed in said plunger is a thumbpiece 42 which projects outwardly through a slot 44 formed vertically in the left side of the body member. The outer surface of said thumbpiece may be knurled as shown for easy manipulation, and contained within a depression 46 formed in the exterior surface of the body member so that it will not be engaged and moved accidentally, for example by the pocket lining of the user when he carries the device in a pocket. 7
In operation, it will be seen that the parts of the device are normally. maintained in the FIG. 4 position by spring 30. In this position, all of the pills 6 in reservoir 4, as well as the single pill in hole 34 of the pill slide, are provided with an air-tight, water-tight seal against the entry of atmospheric air and moisture, the seal at the top of the reservoir being provided by cap 10 and gasket 12, and at the bottom of the reservoir by the interengagement of the wedge portion 32 of pill slide 28 with the corresponding walls of slide passageway 18,
urged into contact by the pressure of spring 30. The mating wedge surfaces may be ground or otherwise accurately formed to provide a fully adequate sealing action even when the pressure of spring 30 is relatively light. Plunger 38 has a slight degree of longitudinal lost motion in passageway in this position, to insure that it cannot interfere with full sealing engagement of wedge 32 in passageway 18.
When a pill is required, the user simply pushes thumbpiece 42 downwardly in slot 44. This may be done easily with a thumb or finger of the same hand in which he is holding body member 2. This moves plunger 38 downwardly in passageway 20, whereby its bevelled cam edge 40 acts against the bevelled cam edge 36 of pill slide 28 to force said slide to the right, as viewed in FIG. 4, to the position thereof shown in FIG. 5, against the pressure of spring 30. During this movement of the pill slide, hole 34 of'the slide is moved from axial registry with reservoir 4 to axial registry with pill discharge opening 26, transporting therein the lowermost pill 6,-and that pill falls through opening 26 to the waiting hand, or mouth, of the user. In this connection, it will be seen that, preferably, the vertical thickness of the pill slide, at the leading and trailing edges of its hole 34, when advanced under the impetus of plunger 38, should be respectively greater than and less than the thickness of one of pills 6. This insures that as the slide is advanced, it can engage only the lowermost pill of the stack, never the next higher pill, and also insures that the pill being advanced in hole 34 cannot be pushed or rammed against the wall of the body member bounding the lower end of reservoir 4. This tends to prevent any shearing, breakage, or crumbling of the pills, the prevention of this occurrence being important since the dust or fragments of broken pills might jam the slide and prevent free movement thereof in passageway 18, so that a pill could not be discharged in the manner described. under conditions amounting to an extreme emergency. However, if a pill should crumble for any reason, such as rough handling or dropping of the device on a hard surface, free access to the pills may still be had by removing cap 10.
When a pill is discharged through opening 26 and the user releases thumbpiece 42, spring 30 again pushes slide 28 to the left, reforming the seal between its wedge portion 32 and the corresponding portion of slide passageway 18 and realigning its hole'34 with reservoir 4 to receive the next higher pill under the impetus of spring 16, and the slide in turn cams plunger 38 upwardly to its original position. The parts are hence returned to their FIG. 4 position, and the device is again readied to dispense another pill whenever desired.
Thus it will be apparent that a pill containerdispenser having several advantages has been produced. The pills are normally-completely sealed against atmospheric air and moisture, so that they are effectively guarded againstdeterioration and loss of potency from these causes. The pills may be discharged one at a time in a very simple manner, easily performed with one hand, even in the dark, and even by a person in a state of panic. No human contact need ever be had with any pill before it is dispensed, provided of course that the reservoir is originally loaded by means not involving human contact, which is easily practical to do. Thus the pills may be preserved in a sterile, sanitary condi tion. The seal is restored automatically after each pill is dispensed. The configuration of the pill slide prevents crushing or breaking of pills thereby. Alternative means of pill removal are provided, each of which may be used in the event of failure of the other.
While I have shown and described a specific embodi ment of my invention, it will be readily apparent that many minor changes of structure and operation could be made without departing from the spirit of the invention.
What I claim as new and desire to protect by Letters Patent is:
l. A container-dispenser for pills and the like comprising:
a. a body member having formed therein an elongated pill reservoir adapted to contain a series of pills in stacked relation, said pills having a uniform thickness longitudinally of said reservoir, a pill discharge opening laterally offset from said reservoir and opening exteriorly of said body member, and a slide passageway extending transversely to said reservoir and interconnecting said reservoir and said discharge opening, said reservoir being otherwise hermetically sealed, I
b. a slide longitudinally movable in said passageway,
and having a hole formed transversely therethrough the axis of.which is parallel to said reservoir, said slide being movable between a first position in which said hole registers with said reservoir and a second position in which said hole registers with said discharge opening, said slide being wedge-shaped in a plane parallel to the reservoir axis, being taperingly reduced in thickness in the direction of movement thereof toward its first position, the walls of said passageway mating with the wedge surfaces of said slide when said slide isin its first position being correspondingly whereby in said first slide position to provide sealing contact between said slide and body member-in encircling relation to the reservoir entry to said passageway, and to the hole of said slide, the thickness of said slide, longitudinally of said reservoir, being respectively less than and greater than the thickness of a single pill at the edges of the slide hole which are respectively adjacent the thinner and the thicker ends of the wedge portion of the slide,
c resilient means operable to bias a stack of pills contained in said reservoir toward the end of said reservoir interconnected with said slide reservoir,
-d. manually operable means for moving said slide from said first position to said second position, and 5 e. resilient means biasing said slide toward said first position.