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Publication numberUS3878577 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateApr 22, 1975
Filing dateOct 10, 1973
Priority dateOct 10, 1973
Publication numberUS 3878577 A, US 3878577A, US-A-3878577, US3878577 A, US3878577A
InventorsJousson Pierre J
Original AssigneeProd Associes Sa
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Valve arrangement for an hydraulically operated hand appliance for personal hygiene
US 3878577 A
Abstract
Control valve means in the hand appliance is manually actuated by a member at the front of the appliance to supply liquid pressure pulses from a pump unit to an hydraulic motor in the appliance for oscillating an attachment such as a toothbrush or to supply the pulses to a liquid attachment, or to shut off the appliance. The control valve means includes an inner member having a plurality of longitudinally separated conduit openings and a longitudinally movable outer valve member having a groove for connecting and disconnecting predetermined conduit openings. A unitary sealing member of resilient material between the inner and outer members has a plurality of apertures registering with the conduit openings, and preferably the conduit openings have tubular projections encircled by the walls of the apertures in the unitary sealing member. Additional projections and apertures between the tubular projections may be employed. The inner and outer valve members may be of generally cylindrical configuration with shoe means therebetween on the side opposite the unitary sealing member.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Jousson Apr. 22, 1975 VALVE ARRANGEMENT FOR AN HYDRAULICALLY OPERATED HAND APPLIANCE FOR PERSONAL HYGIENE lnventor: Pierre J. Jousson, Geneva,

Switzerland Assignee: Les Produits Associes, SA, Geneva.

Switzerland Filed: Oct. 10, 1973 Appl. No.: 405,104

[52.] US. Cl 15/22 R; 128/50; 128/66 [5 1] Int. Cl A46b 13/06 [58] Field of Search l5/22 R, 22.1, 22.3; 128/50, 66, 62 A [56] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3.536.065 10/]970 Morct l28/50 3 55l.93l l/l97l Monroe 15/22 R 3.561.033 2/l97l Trenary et al. 15/22 R 3.77l.l86 l l/l973 Morct ct al. 15/22 R Primary E.\'aminer-Edward L. Roberts Attorney. Agent, or Firm-Pennie & Edmonds ABSTRACT Control valve means in the hand appliance is manually actuated by a member at the front of the appliance to supply liquid pressure pulses from a pump unit to an hydraulic motor in the appliance for oscillating an attachment such as a toothbrush or to supply the pulses to a liquid attachment, or to shut off the appliance. The control valve means includes an inner member having a plurality of longitudinally separated conduit openings and a longitudinally movable outer valve member having a groove for connecting and disconnecting predetermined conduit openings. A unitary sealing member of resilient material between the inner and outer members has a plurality of apertures registering with the conduit openings, and preferably the conduit openings have tubular projections encircled by the walls of the apertures in the unitary sealing member. Additional projections and apertures between the tubular projections may be employed. The inner and outer valve members may be of generally cylindrical configuration withshoe means therebetween on the side opposite the unitary sealing member.

7 Claims, 9 Drawing Figures PHENTEUAPRZZBB I 3,878,577 sum 2 o 2 llll I a I I ail/germ VALVE ARRANGEMENT FOR AN HYDRAULICALLY OPERATED HAND APPLIANCE FOR PERSONAL HYGIENE BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION In application Ser. No. 244,879 filed Apr. 17, 1972, now US. Pat. No. 3,771,186 as a continuation of Ser. No. 117,466 filed Feb. 22, 1971, now abandoned an hydraulically operated hand appliance for personal hygiene is described which is driven by a source of liquid pressure pulses and is arranged to alternatively oscillate an appliance head such as a toothbrush head or to supply the liquid pressure pulses to an appliance head such as a water jet head. The appliance is controlled for either type of operation by a manually operated control ring at the front end thereof which controls valve means toward the rear of the appliance. Advantageously a two-tube recirculating appliance is employed, and the control means is designed so that the appliance can also be turned off by the front control ring. The control mechanism and appliance heads may be designed to insure proper positioning of the control ring for each type of appliance head.

In the aforesaid application the valve structure is generally cylindrical and the control ring connected thereto by a cylindrical tube, with sealing O-rings encircling the inner valve structure. While capable of satisfactory operation, it has been found in practice that over extended periods of use the O-rings may lose their initial lubrication and the resulting friction may make it difficult to operate the control ring. This is particularly true when mouthwash solutions are used in the liquid.

The present invention is directed to a sealing arrangement which markedly reduces friction in the valve mechanism and is simple and economical to manufacture.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION In accordance with the invention, the control valve means includes an inner member having a plurality of longitudinally separated conduit openings and a longitudinally movable outer valve member having a groove for connecting and disconnecting predetermined conduit openings in response to longitudinal movement of the outer member. A unitary sealing member of resilient material is secured. to the inner member and has a plurality of apertures registering with the conduit openings. A manual control member at the front of the appliance is connected with the outer valve member to actuate it to alternative positions.

Preferably the conduit openings have tubular projections toward the outer valve member and the walls of the apertures in the unitary sealing member closely encircle the tubular projections. An additional projection may be provided between adjacent tubular projections, with a corresponding opening in the unitary sealing member fitting over the projection.

The surface of the inner member from which the tubular projections and additional projections extend may be a flat or cylindrical section, and the inner surfaces of the sides of the grooves in the outer valve member planar or cylindrical, respectively.

In the specific embodiment described below, the inner member is of generally cylindrical configuration with the conduit openings in longitudinal alignment on one side thereof, and the outer valve member is generally tubular with the groove therein extending longitudinally. A small clearance is provided between the members. Inasmuch as the portions of the unitary sealing member around the conduit openings are in compression to provide proper seals, the ressultant forces may deflect one or both of the inner and outer members and reduce or eliminate the clearance on the side opposite the sealing member, since the members are commonly small and made of a suitable plastic. To maintain the clearance without introducing excessive friction, shoes or similar means may be employed between the valve members on the side opposite the sealing member.

During manufacture, the unitary sealing member is easily placed in position and cementing has been found unnecessary, although it could be employed if desired.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 illustrates a pump unit connected to a hand appliance having a toothbrush attachment;

FIG. 2 illustrates a water jet attached to the hand appliance of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a longitudinal cross-section of a portion of the hand appliance showing the valve arrangement of the invention;

FIGS. 4 and 5 are face and side views of the unitary sealing member;

FIG. 6 is a partial cross-section along the line 6-6 of FIG. 3;

FIG. 7 is a partial cross-section similar to FIG. 6 showing a modification thereof;

FIG. 8 is a partial cross-section showing the valve position for toothbrush operation; and

FIG. 9 shows the valve position for water jet operation.

DESCRIPTION OF THE SPECIFIC EMBODIMENTS Referring to FIG. 1, a pump unit generally designated as 10 is connected to a hand appliance 11 by a flexible dual tube 12. The pump unit includes a water reservoir 13 supplying water to a pump in housing 14. Liquid pressure pulses are supplied through one of the tubes in dual tube 12 to hand appliance 11, and the other tube allows water to be returned to the reservoir 13.

The hand appliance 1 l is designed as a unitary device capable of both toothbrush and water jet operation by simply interchanging the appliance heads. FIG. 1 shows a toothbrush head 16 in place, and FIG. 2 shows a water jet attachment 17 in place.

Hand appliance 11 is elongated so that it can readily be grasped, and has a manually actuable control member 18 mounted at the front end so that it can conveniently be actuated by the forefinger and thumb while the appliance is grasped by the other fingers and palm. By suitably moving the control member 18, either toothbrush or water jet operation may be obtained, or the pressure pulses returned to the reservoir 13.

Referring to FIGS. 3-6, the hand appliance 11 has an elongated casing 21 forming a handle. A section of the appliance is omitted at 22 so that the valve arrangement can be shown on a large scale. The inlet and outlet tubes 12 and 12" of dual tube 12 are attached at the rear of the appliance. Tube 12' is connected to passage 23 leading to the head of cylinder 24 in which piston 25 reciprocates. Sealing O-ring 26 prevents passage of liquid thereby. A helical cam screw 27 at the end of piston 25 rides in a helical cam nut in the rear wall 28 of sleeve 29 which forms part of the output member. As cam screw 27 is reciprocated by piston 25, it produces rotational oscillation of sleeve 29. The forward portion 31 of the output member is designed to drive an appliance head such as a toothbrush in rotational oscillation, as by forming it with a square exterior surface. For liquid jet operation, an annular passage 32 around the forward end of the piston 25 communicates with the interior of sleeve 29 through openings in rear wall 28 (not shown) and supplies liquid pressure pulses through the hollow opening 33 in the output member to a liquid jet attachment.

The general arrangement described thus far is similar to arrangements described in the aforesaid application Ser. No. 244,879 to which reference may be made for further information.

Considering now the improved control valve arrangement of the present invention, inner member 41 is provided with a plurality of longitudinally separated conduit openings 42, 43 and 44. A longitudinally movable outer valve member 45 has a groove 46 for connecting and disconnecting predetermined conduit openings in response to longitudinal movement of the outer mem ber. A sleeve 47 is attached to the outer valve member 45 and extends forwardly to control member 18.

FIG. 3 shows the hand appliance in its of condition, with control member 18 and valve member 45 in their rearmost positions. As will be observed, groove 46 connects conduit openings 42 and 43 so that liquid pulses in inlet passage 23 are delivered to outlet passage 48 and thence to the outlet or return tube 12". FIG. 8 shows the appliance in condition for oscillating a toothbrush, etc., the valve member 45 being in its mid position. Here groove 46 disconnects conduit opening 43 from openings 42 and 44, and liquid pressure pulses in inlet passage 23 are effective to drive piston 25. FIG. 9 shows the appliance in condition for liquid jet operation., the valve member 45 being in its forward position. Here groove 46 connects conduit openings 43 and 44, thereby delivering the liquid pressure pulses to passage 32.

To provide proper sealing in the several positions of valve member 45, a unitary sealing member 49 (shown separately in FIGS. 4 and of resilient material is employed. For example, it may be made of neoprene, etc. Apertures 51, 52 and 53 in the sealing member register with conduit openings 42, 43 and 44, respectively. The conduit openings have short tubular projections 42', 43 and 44 which are closely encircled by the walls of apertures 51-53 so that good seals are established with the valve member 45 in the several positions thereof. Additional apertures 54 and 55 fit around projections 56 and 57 of the inner member 41 between adjacent tubular projections 42-44. Thus the unitary sealing member provides, in effect, sealing rings around respective tubular projections 42-44 and sealing edges 49, 49" which engage the inner surfaces of the sides of grooves 46, as will be understood from FIG. 6. The unitary sealing member is readily inserted over the various projections during assembly and, when the outer valve member 45 is placed thereover, is securely held in place.

Friction which resists movement of the outer valve member 45 is low due to the small surface area of the sealing member in contact therewith. With the valve member made of a suitable plastic, the friction is usually small enough to allow easy valve action over long periods of use. However, if desired, a metal insert could be used on the inner surface of the outer valve member opposite the unitary sealing member to further reduce friction.

In the embodiment shown, the outer surface of the inner member 41 is generally cylindrical and the outer valve member 45 encircles the inner valve member with a small clearance 58 therebetween. Since the parts are small and commonly made of plastic, the compression of the unitary sealing member required for adequate sealing may deflect one or the other of the members to reduce or eliminate the desired clearance at 58. To maintain the desired compression of the unitary sealing member and avoid excessive friction, shoe means in the form of small projections 59 may be provided if necessary.

As shown in FIG. 6, the surfaces 61 from which tubular projection 43 extends is in the form of a cylindrical section and the inner surfaces of the sides of the groove in the outer valve member 45 are cylindrical sections engaging the unitary sealing member 49. The outer tubular projections 42, 44 and intermediate projections 56, 57 are in longitudinal alignment with 43.

FIG. 7 shows a modification in which the surface 6] from which the projections extend is flat and the inner surfaces of the sides of the groove in member 45 are planar to engage the sealing member.

The valve arrangement may be adapted to other specific forms of hand appliances, including the various types shown in the aforesaid application Ser. No. 244,879, the number and arrangement of the conduit openings and the groove being selected to suit the requirements of the particular application.

I claim:

1. A hand appliance for personal hygiene, for use with appliance heads requiring alternatively an oscillating drive and liquid pressure pulses, and driven by a source of liquid pressure pulses, said hand appliance comprising a. an elongated casing forming a handle,

b. flexible conduit means for connecting said casing with said source of liquid pressure pulses,

c. an output member mounted near the front end of said casing for oscillating an appliance head at tached thereto and having an opening for supplying liquid pressure pulses to an appliance head attached thereto,

d. an hydraulic motor in said casing actuable by liquid pressure pulses for oscillating said output member,

e. conduit means in said casing for delivering liquid pressure pulses to said output member,

f. control valve means in said casing positioned substantially rearwardly of the front end of the casing and controllable to supply liquid pressure pulses from said flexible conduit means alternatively to actuate said hydraulic motor and to supply the pressure pulses to said conduit means in the casing,

g. said control valve means including an inner member having a plurality of longitudinally separated conduit openings and a longitudinally movable outer valve member having a groove for connecting and disconnecting predetermined condudit openings,

h. a unitary sealing member of resilient material between said inner and outer member having a plurality of apertures registering with said conduit openings,

i. and a manually actuable longitudinally movable control member mounted at the front end of said appliance and connected with said outer valve member for actuation of the valve member to alternative positions thereof.

2. A hand appliance according to claim 1 in which said conduit openings have tubular projections toward said outer valve member and the walls of the apertures in said unitary sealing member closely encircle said tubular projections.

3. A hand appliance according to claim 2 in which said inner member has a projection between adjacent tubular projections and said unitary sealing member has a corresponding aperture fitting around said projection.

4. A hand appliance according to claim 3 in which said inner member has a cylindrical surface section from which said tubular projections and the projections therebetween extend, said projections being in longitudinal alignment and the inner surfaces of the sides of the groove in said outer valve member being cylindrical sections to engage said unitary sealing member.

5. A hand appliance according to claim 3 in which said inner member has a flat surface section from which said tubular projections and the projection therebetween extend, said projections being in longitudinal alignment and the inner surfaces of the sides of the groove in said outer valve member being planar to engage said unitary sealing member.

6. A hand appliance according to claim 1 in which said inner member is of generally cylindrical configuration with said conduit openings in longitudinal alignment on one side thereof, and said outer valve member is generally tubular with said groove extending longitudinally.

7. A hand appliance according to claim 6 including shoe means between said inner member and outer valve member on the side opposite said unitary sealing member for maintaining a space therebetween.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3536065 *Jun 12, 1968Oct 27, 1970Sophindar EtsApparatus for body care
US3551931 *Feb 28, 1969Jan 5, 1971Aqua Tec CorpHydraulic motor driven toothbrush
US3561033 *May 6, 1969Feb 9, 1971Aqua Tec CorpAutomatic toothbrush with motion selector
US3771186 *Apr 17, 1972Nov 13, 1973Sophindar EtsHydraulically operated hand appliance for personal hygiene
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4146020 *Jun 29, 1977Mar 27, 1979Les Produits Associes LpaPower handle for hydraulic toothbrush-spray appliance
US4353141 *Jul 7, 1980Oct 12, 1982Teague Jr W DorwinPower toothbrush
US4607627 *Sep 10, 1984Aug 26, 1986Teledyne Industries, Inc.Solenoid-actuated hygienic appliance
US7059853Feb 5, 2003Jun 13, 2006Cra Labs, Inc.Oral irrigation and/or brushing devices and/or methods
US7757328Sep 9, 2005Jul 20, 2010Cra Labs, Inc.Oral brushing devices and/or methods
US7757329Sep 28, 2007Jul 20, 2010Cra Labs, Inc.Oral brushing devices and/or methods
US7757330Jul 7, 2008Jul 20, 2010Cra Labs, Inc.Oral brushing devices and/or methods
US7849549Jul 10, 2008Dec 14, 2010Cra Labs, Inc.Oral brushing devices
US8444416Apr 26, 2005May 21, 2013Braun GmbhValves for personal care devices
US8449295Jul 5, 2011May 28, 2013Cra Labs, Inc.Oral irrigation and/or brushing devices and/or methods
US8458841Jun 5, 2008Jun 11, 2013Braun GmbhBrush head for a toothbrush
Classifications
U.S. Classification15/22.1, 601/160, 601/96
International ClassificationA61C17/00, A61C17/16, A61C17/38, A61C17/028
Cooperative ClassificationA61C17/38, A61C17/028
European ClassificationA61C17/028, A61C17/38