US 3864047 A
A dispensing or fountain toothbrush has a brush holder to which a paste tube is removably attached inside of a sleeve which serves as a handle. A chamber for paste in the brush holder communicates with a passage leading to the brush bristles and this passage is normally blocked by a spring-urged valve or plunger. An elastic pumping element on the brush holder pressurizes paste within said chamber and opens the valve while simultaneously closing a delivery nozzle through which paste enters the chamber from the paste tube when the pumping element returns to a normal relaxed position.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent 1191 Sherrod I I 1111 3,864,047 1451 Feb, 4, 1975  Inventor:
[ 1 TOOTHBRUSH WITH RESILI ENT PUMP FOR SUPPLYING PASTE TO BRUSH James A. Sherrod, PO. Box 84, Pavo, Ga. 31778  Filed: May 23, 1974 211 Appl. No.2 472,671
1521 11.s.1:1 401/278,132/84 R, 222/191, 401/186 51 1m. 01 ..A46b1l/04 Field of Search 132/84 D, 84 R; 401/185, 401/186, 278, 286, 289, 140; 222/191, 496,
 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 960,660 6/1910 I Martz 401/140 1,518,341 12/1924 Mendoza 401/286 2,743,042 4/1956 Burgin 401/185 x 3,256,894 6/1966 Sherman 401/278 X 3,356,093 12/1967 Tylle 132/84R Primary Examiner-Allen N. Knowles Assistant Examiner-David A. Scherbel Attorney, Agent, or Firrn-B. P. Fishburne, Jr.
 ABSTRACT A dispensing or fountain toothbrush has a brush holder to which a paste tube is removably-attached inside of a sleeve which serves as a handle. A chamber for paste in the brush holder communicates with 'a passage leading to the brush bristles and this passage is normally blocked by a spring-urged valve or plunger. An elastic pumping element on the brush holder pressurizes paste within said chamber and opens the valve while simultaneously closing a delivery nozzle through which paste enters the chamber-from the paste tube when the pumping element returns to a normal relaxed position.
8 Claims, 5 Drawing Figures TOOTHBRUSH WITH RESILIENT FIJMP FOR SUPPLYING PASTE TO BRUSH BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION Prior art dispensing or fountain toothbrushes have not achieved wide acceptance from the public for several reasons. Generally, they tend to be awkward and messy to handle, excessively large and costly. Also, the the existing devices, a major diffic ulty is encountered with internal passages that become clogged with dried dentifrice paste, sometimes resulting in the device becoming largely inoperative. Some examples of the patented prior art are shown in US. Pat. Nos. 1,596,365; 3,610,831; 3,021,850 and 3,256,849. Another difficulty with the prior art structures is that they are difficult to clean when they become clogged because of internal passages which are inaccessible.
In view of the'above, the objective of this invention is to provide a paste dispensing toothbrush which is entirely practical and reliable in operation, as well as efficient. By utilizing a unique elastic pumping element, only a measured amount of paste is delivered to the brush bristles per pumping stroke and therefore paste is not wasted as frequently occurs with prior art fountain toothbrushes having no accurate paste pumping or metering means.
The brush of the invention is also greatly simplified in construction and is therefore economical to manufacture. It is compact and sufficiently small to be carried in a pocket or small purse. It has internal passages which are readily accessible for cleaning out and is constructed and sealed in such a way that the tendency for drying out and clogging is minimized. In this connection, the internal paste chamber of the brush holder is normally closed by a spring-urged plunger or check valve which opens only when the pumping element is depressed to pressurize paste within the chamber. The pumping element automatically draws additional paste into the chamber after each pumping stroke to replace the paste which was dispensed, thereby eliminating air pockets which cause drying and clogging. A brush head earring the brush bristles is readily replaceable for convenience and economy.
Other features and advantages of the invention will become apparent during the course of the following description.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWING FIGURES FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a paste dispensing toothbrush embodying the invention with a cover cap removed to expose the brush head.
FIG. 2 is an enlarged central vertical longitudinal section through the dispensing brush, partly broken away.
FIG. 3 is a transverse vertical cross section taken on line 33 of FIG. 2.
FIG. 4 is a similar section taken on line 4--4 of FIG.
FIG. 5 is a longitudinal vertical sectionsimilar to FIG. 2 illustrating the positive pumping operation to dispense paste to the brush bristles.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION Referring to the drawings in detail, the numeral designates a brush holder or body portion formed of plastic or other convenient substantially rigid material. On its upper side, the holder 10 is provided with a dovetailed groove 11 for the seating of a readily removable and changeable brush head 12 including a base or slide 13 received snugly in the groove-l1 and locked releasably therein by a detent 14. Other means may be utilized to mount the brush head on the holder 10 and the above-described construction represents one preferred manner of accomplishing this.
The holder 10 near its rear end has an internal chamber 15 for tooth paste leading forwardly to a relatively narrow roughly rectangular cross section outlet passage 16. A transverse outlet port 17 for paste leads from the forward end of passage 16 and communicates directly with a recess 18 in the brush head 12 for reception of tooth paste. As shown, the brush recess 18 is centrally located in the brush head for even distribution of the tooth paste 19, FIG. 1, during usage.
In the forward end of the holder 10, a cylindrical bore 20 somewhat larger than the passage 16 receives the head 21 of a plunger valve element 22 which projects from the bore 20 rearwardly into the outlet passage 16 and across the. outlet port 17, FIG.'2, to close the same. The plunger 22 conforms in cross sectional shape to the longitudinal passage 16 and fits closely, but movably, therein. The head 21 is backed up by a coil spring 23 in the bore 20 and an adjustable threaded plug 24 in the forward end portion of bore 20 allows the spring tension to be adjusted and also permits removal of the spring and plunger valve element 22 to gain access to the passage 16 for cleaning should this become necessary. The rearward movement of the element 22 is limited by contact with the head 21 of fixed shoulder 25 at the rear end of the bore 20.
The holder 10 has a thick rear end wall 26 which is externally screw-threaded at areas 27 and 28, separated by a shoulder 29. A removable cover cap 30 for the brush head has threaded engagement with the screw-threads 28 and a substantially rigid cylindrical sleeve 31 has removable threaded engagement with the screw-threads 27. In addition to serving as a handle for the toothbrush, the sleeve 31 serves to enclose a conventional collapsible tooth paste or dentifrice tube 32,.
whose threaded neck 33 is received by a central screwthreaded opening 34 in the wall 26. The rear end of sleeve 31 may carry a removable screw-threaded cap 35.
Immediately ahead of the tube neck 33 and threaded opening 34 is an inclined tapering fixed nozzle element 36 integrally joined to the wall 26 for delivering tooth paste from the tube 32 into the chamber 15 of the brush holder in a manner to be described. Acting in conjunction with the nozzle 36 is an elastic finger operated pumping element or diaphragm 37 formed of rubber-like material and having a marginal skirt portion 38 of reduced thickness which is received snugly and sealingly within grooves 39 formed in the side walls of the holder 10, FIG. 4. Similar grooves 40 provided in the holder 10, FIG. 2, receive the remainder of the skirt portion 38. so that the latter is held firmly around the entire marginal of the pumping diaphragm. The diaphragm 37 completely closes and seals the top of the state, FIGS. 1 and 2, its flat under surface 42 is spaced I from the outlet end 43 of nozzle 36 and there is communication between the nozzle and the chamber 15. Referring to FlG. 5, when the user depresses the elastic diaphragm 37 with a finger, it moves into contact with the nozzle outlet and closes off the nozzle so that there can be no paste flow therethrough in either direction.- Simultaneously, the diaphragm compresses the paste in the chamber by substantially reducing the volume of this chamber and this action unseats the plunger valve 22 and allows a desirable amount of tooth paste to flow through the port 17 and fill up the recess 18 in the brush bristles, as shown at 19. Only a measured amount of paste will be dispensed for each pumping actuation of the diaphragm 37, as the rigid nozzle 36 will limit the pumping stroke as shown in FIG. 5, and therefore paste will not be wasted.
When the user releases the diaphragm 37, it will return automatically to the relaxed state shown in FIG. 2 and in so doing will relieve'pressure in the chamber 15 allowing valve element 22 to close port 17 by the action of spring 23. At the same time, the mild vacuum now created in the chamber 15 will draw additional paste from the tube 32 and through the nozzle 36, into chamber 15 to replace the amount of paste previously dispensed therefrom by the depressing of the diaphragm 37.
Thus the device has the ability to dispense precise amounts of tooth paste to the brush head, as required, and after each dispensing stroke, additional paste is automatically drawn into the chamber 15 so that the same will be filled at all times without air pockets. This mode of operation, coupled with the fact that plunger valve 22 normally closes off the port 17, assures that the paste will not quickly dry out in the chamber 15 or outlet passage 16 and the device will work continuously without clogging. The periodic movement of the valve element 22 will tend to break loose any crusted or dried accumulation of tooth paste around the port 17, and the recess 18 in the brush bristles can be flushed with water in the usual manner. It is thought that the structure of the device and its mode of operation is not only unique, but simplified and very efficient and reliable.
It is to be understood that the form of the invention herewith shown and described is to be taken as a preferred example of the same, and that various changes in the shape, size and arrangement of parts may be resorted to, without departing from the spirit of the invention or scope of the subjoined claims.
1. A paste dispensing brush comprising a brush holder having a paste chamber and a nozzle element projecting into said chamber and a paste outlet passage leading from said chamber to the bristles of a brush head on said holder, a spring-urged valve element on the holder normally blocking said outlet passage, an elastic pumping diaphragm element on said holder in opposed relation to said nozzle element and normally spaced therefrom when in a relaxed state, said pumping diaphragm element when depressed engaging and covering the nozzle element and simultaneously pressurizing paste in said chamber and causing the valve element to move for opening said outlet passage, whereby a measured amount of paste from the chamber is delivered to said brush head bristles, releasing of said pumping diaphragm element and the return thereof to said relaxed state allowing said valve element to block the outlet passage and simultaneously drawing an amount of paste through said nozzle into said chamber equiva- 4 lent to the amount of paste previously dispensed therefrom, and means on said holder for coupling the same to a container of paste with the container communicating directly with said nozzle element.
2. A paste dispensing brush as defined by claim 1,
and said last-named means including a threaded opening on said holder in registration with said nozzle element and adapted to receive the threaded. neck of a tooth paste tube, and additional screwthreads on said holder for engaging a threaded sleeve member surrounding and enclosing the tooth paste tube and also forming a handle for said dispensing brush.
3. A paste dispensing brush as defined by claim 1, and said brush holder having a transverse outlet port leading from said outlet passage and intersecting said passage, said brush head bristles having a recess in registration with said port, said spring-urged valve element comprising a plunger element projecting axially into said outlet passage and adapted in one position to cover said port and in a retracted position to uncover said port.
4. A paste dispensing brush as defined by claim 3,
and said holder having a forward bore ahead of the outlet passage, said valve element having a head slidable within said bore, a spring within said bore engaging said head, and an adjustable plug threadably engaging in said bore ahead of said spring and bearing against the spring.
5. A paste dispensing brush as defined by claim 1, and said elastic pumping diaphragm element having a marginal skirt portion, and said holder having a groove receiving said skirt portion snugly and sealingly, whereby paste in said chamber cannot escape around the margin of the diaphragm element.
6. A paste dispensing brush as defined. by claim 1, and additional coupling means on said. holder for receiving a closure cap for covering said brush head and pumping diaphragm element and for receiving a handle forming sleeve which also serves to enclose a paste container coupled to said holder.
7. A paste dispensing brush as defined by claim 1, and said brush holder having a removable brush head seat thereon, said brush head having a base portion releasably engageable with the seat and being interlocked therewith during use of the paste dispensing brush.
8. A paste dispensing toothbrush or the like comprising a body portion having a paste holding chamber and a paste inlet nozzle projecting into the chamber and connectable to an external paste source, a brush head secured to the body portion and having a paste receiving cavity, the body portion having a paste outlet passage interconnecting said chamber and brush head cavity, a pressure responsive valve element on the body portion normally blocking communication between the brush head cavity and said outlet passage and opening in response to increasing pressure in said chamber and outlet passage, and a manually operable control element on the body portion having a normal position away from said nozzle and a use position in contact with the nozzle and blocking the nozzle, said control element when in the use position diminishing the vol-' ume of said chamber and thereby compressing paste therein to cause opening of the pressure responsive valve element and dispensing into said brush head cavity a measured amount of paste.