US 3908870 A
A miniature type, rechargeable atomizing spray mechanism including a receptacle for the liquid to be atomized, and further including a cap and axially aligned first and second pressure chambers, one of which depends within the receptacle while the other projects above the cap. A reciprocable spray head is arranged to cooperate with plural pistons, one each of which are slidably arranged in said first and second pressure chambers. Upper and lower valve members are available to control the emission of spray. The upper valve is maintained closed by a spring element, and the lower valve is opened by reciprocation of the spray head to permit withdrawal of the liquid from the container so that it may pass through a bore provided between the plural pistons and be emitted as a spray from the spray head.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent Nozawa et al.
[451 Sept. 30, 1975 1 1 MANUAL-TYPE MINIATURE ATOMIZER  Inventors: Takamitsu Nozawa; Takao Kishi,
both of Tokyo, Japan  Assignee: Yoshino Kogyosho Co., Ltd., Tokyo,
Japan 122] Filed: Nov. 13, 1974 121] Appl. No.: 523,421
 Foreign Application Priority Data Nov. 15, 1973 Japan 48-131929 Dec. 25, 1973 Japan 49-2426 Mar. 29, 1974 Japan 49-35748 May 1, 1974 Japan 49-49650  U.S. Cl. 222/321; 222/385  Int. Cl.- B67D 5/42  Field of Search 222/385, 383, 372, 380, 222/4022, 321, 320; 239/331, 333
 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,248,021 4/1966 Corsette et al. 222/385 X 3,391,647 7/1968 Corsette et a1. 1 222/385 X 3,583,605 6/1971 Corsette 222/383 X 3,640,470 2/1972 Susuki et al. 222/385 X Primary E.\'aminerStanley H. Tollberg Assistant E.\'aminer.lohn P. Shannon Attorney, Agent, or FirInEdwin E1 Greigg 1 5 7 ABSTRACT A miniature type, rechargeable atomizing spray mechanism including a receptacle for the liquid to be atomized, and further including a cap and axially aligned first and second pressure chambers, one of which depends within the receptacle while the other projects above the cap. A reciprocable spray head is arranged to cooperate with plural pistons, one each of which are slidably arranged in said first and second pressure chambers. Upper and lower valve members are available to control the emission of spray. The upper valve is maintained closed by a spring element, and the lower valve is opened by reciprocation of the spray head to permit withdrawal of the liquid from the container so that it may pass through a bore provided between the plural pistons and be emitted as a spray from the spray head.
12 Claims, 11 Drawing Figures US. Pamm Sept. 30,1975 She c t 1 of 5 $908,870
F I G. 2
Sheet 3 of 5 ag 01F gcs 522m:
US. Patent Sept. 30,1975 Sheet4 0f5 3,908,870
MANUAL-TYPE MINIATURE ATOMIZER BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION The present invention relates to an atomizer, and more particularly to a miniature atomizer of a manual type for atomizing perfume, cosmetic preparations or the like.
Various proposals have been made for a miniature atomizer of the manual type. In one representative proposal, a single cylinder is formed midway of a liquid passage extending from a liquid container to a nozzle outlet in an atomizer head. Thus, in operation, when the atomizer head is depressed, a cylindrical piston, which is formed at the lower end of a bored stem depending from the atomizer head, is moved downward within the cylinder. As a result, the liquid, which has been confined in the cylinder, is permitted to pass through the bore of the stem and then to spurt from the outlet of the nozzle. At this instant, the liquid thus discharged will be atomized with the ambient air into a desired fine mist. When the atomizer head is set free after the depressing operation, the cylindrical piston is returned or moved upward together with the head by the action of a built-in coil spring so that a vacuum is again established in the cylinder. The vacuum will open a lower one-way valve to admit the liquid from its container into the cylinder.
In the manual-type miniature atomizer of the conventional construction, however, the disadvantage of an insufficient atomization is liable to take place when the depressing operation of the atomizer head is carried out at a relatively low speed. This disadvantage is experienced especially at the initial and final stages of the head depressing operation, at which time the speed thereof is inevitably retarded. The extreme case is that the liquid will be discharged in the form of droplets.
OBJECTS OF THE INVENTION It is, therefore, a major object of the present invention to preclude the above drawback, i.e, the occurrence of an insufficient atomization which will take place at a retarded depression speed of an atomizer head.
A more specific object of the present invention is to provide a miniature atomizer of manual type, in which both a cylinder of a smaller diameter and a cylinder of a larger diameter are disposed at a lower level and at a higher level, respectively, midway of a liquid passage extending from a liquid container to a nozzle outlet. The two cylinders are made to communicate with each other by way of a tubular sliding member which has a portion acting as a valve member. This tubular sliding member is moved downward only when the pressure in the two cylinders and in the bore of the sliding member exceeds a predetermined high level as a result of the depressing operation of the atomizer head. With the tubular sliding member thus moved, the upper one-way valve is opened to permit the liquid, which has been confined under pressure within the two cylinders and in the bore of the sliding member during the depressing operation, to be discharged through the nozzle outlet.
Another important object of the present invention is to provide a manually operated miniature atomizer of the above type, which has such a construction as can scavenge the air which might otherwise be left under a considerable pressure within the two cylinders even after the depression stroke. The air thus left would make it almost impossible to suck the liquid from the container into the two cylinders and so on during the returning upward movement of the tubular sliding member for the subsequent atomization operation. This difficulty is, as is well known, the most prominent when the user buys the miniature atomizer and puts it into actual practice for the first time.
Other objects and advantages of the present invention will become apparent from the following description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawmgs.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIGS. 1 and 2 are longitudinal sections of a miniature atomizer exemplifying the present invention, the former showing the condition before the atomizer is depressed while the latter showing the condition during the depression stroke;
FIGS. 3 to 5 are also longitudinal sections and generally similar to FIG. 1, but show second, third, and fourth embodiments of the present invention, respectively;
FIGS. 6 and 7 are further longitudinal sections and generally similar to FIGS. 1 and 2, respectively, but show a fifth embodiment of the present invention; and
FIGS. 8 to 11 are longitudinal sections showing essential portions of sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth embodiments of the present invention, respectively.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS The first embodiment of the present invention will be described with reference to FIGS. 1 and 2. A liquid container 1 is formed with a neck portion 2 having an externally threaded portion 3. A cap 4 is formed on the inner face of its lower half with an internally threaded portion 5, which is screwed on the threaded portion 3 of the container 1. The cap 4 is formed integrally with an inwardly extending flange 6 from which a cylinder 7 having a smaller diameter is formed and arranged to depend into the neck portion 2. The cylinder 7 is shown as having a reduced area 7b into which is fitted one end of a suction tube 8 the opposite end of which extends into the bottom of the container 1. Thus, the liquid in the container 1 can have operational communication with the inside of the cylinder 7 by way of the suction tube 8 and a first one-way valve 9. Disposed on the bottom of the cylinder in the reduced area 7b is a perforated stop plate 11 beneath which is positioned a first valve member 10, preferably of a ball type.
The cylinder 7 is arranged to receive a tubular piston 14 which is formed on the outer periphery of a lower portion of a tubular sliding member 13. A perforated stop plate 15 supported on the inward flange 6 prevents the tubular piston 14 from becoming dissociated from engagement with the smaller cylinder 7. The tubular sliding member 13 is formed at the upper portion with a tubular piston 16 and is of a larger diameter than the lower piston 14. The upper surface of the piston 16 is provided with plural projections 17 which in turn support a second valve member 18. Thus, this second valve member 18 is positioned above the bore 13a of the sliding member 13. Between the stop plate 15 and the larger tubular piston 16 is interposed a suitable biasing member such as a coil spring 19, which is operative to bias the tubular sliding member 13 in an upward direction.
The atomizer head 20 further includes a cylinder 21 having a depending wall and formed complementally to receive the annulus of the piston 16. The cylinder 21 is provided with an axial aperture or valve passage 22, which is in fluid communication with a nozzle outlet 23 formed on one vertical face of the atomizer head 20. The valve member 18 is chamfered to form a valve seat 24 and is complemental to the means defining the opening 22.
Thus it will be understood that with these construction arrangements, a fiuid passage is formed providing communication between the inside of the container 1 and the nozzle outlet 23. In view of the foregoing, it will be appreciated that the several valves referred to hereinbefore i.e., 9 and 25 thus form a pressure chamber between them when in an operational condition.
Without any depressing force being exerted on the atomizer head 20, the first one-way valve 10 is closed by the force of gravity and the second one-way valve 25 is maintained closed by the action of the coil spring 19 all of which is shown in FIG. 1. When, in this instance, the head is depressed, the cylinder 21 is moved downward together with the tubular sliding member 13, so that the common pressure on the inside of the cylinders 7 and 21 is boosted to an equal level via the bore 13a of the sliding member 13 always providing communication therebetween. Hence, it should be noted that, since the effective area of the piston 16 is greater than that of the piston 14, the downward force to be exerted on the piston 16 is accordingly greater than the upward force on the piston 14. As a result, when the difference in the two opposite forces exceeds the upward biasing force of the coil spring 19 as the depressing stroke proceeds, then the piston 16 and the second valve member 18 attached thereto are moved further downward away from the atomizer head 20, so that the second one-way valve is opened, as better seen from FIG. 2. At this instant, the liquid, which has been confined under pressure during this depressing stroke in the pressure chamber defined between the first and second one-way valves 9 and 25, is permitted to spurt into the valve passage 22 around the opened valve 25 and is atomized at the nozzle outlet 23 into the desired fine mist, as shown by broken lines in FIG. 2. When, on the contrary, the depressing force to the atomizer head 20 is weakened, the summation of the upward forces of the coil spring 19 and the piston 14 exceeds the downward force of the piston 16 due to the boosted pressure in the confined liquid. Then the second valve member 18 is elevated together with the piston 16 to close the second one-way valve 25. When the atomizer head 20 is released from the manual depression at the next stage, the head 20 and the tubular sliding member 13 are returned or moved upward by the biasing force of the coil spring 19 with the second oneway valve 25 being left closed. Since the piston 14 is also elevated at this time, the volume of the pressure chamber is enlarged to change its pressure to a vacuum level. As a result, the first one-way valve 10 is opened by the pressure difference between the pressure chamber and the liquid container 1 to allow the liquid in the container 1 to flow into the pressure chamber for subsequent atomization. Meanwhile, indicated at refer ence numeral 7a is an opening which is formed in the wall of the cylinder 7 and which acts as an air vent to prevent the liquid container 1 from being excessively evacuated even with the suction of the liquid therein due to the one atomizing cycle. This opening 7a may be desirably formed at such a position as to be opened only when the piston 14 is lowered.
Turning now to FIG. 3, a second embodiment of the present invention will be described and in which like reference numerals will indicate certain parts that correspond to the views of the first embodiment of FIGS. 1 and 2. In this embodiment, however, the cap 4 is not a part of the cylinder 7. In this construction a cylinder 6a having an inverted Lshaped cross-section is positioned for support on the flange 6 as shown. The cylinder 21 has a complementally formed L-shaped crosssection 210 which engages the corresponding portion of cylinder 6a. The cylinder 21, which is also made separately from the atomizer head 20, is fixedly inserted in a bore 20b which is formed in an aperture in the head 20. The valve passage 22, which is provided in the top wall 216 of the cylinder 21 has its inner lower peripheral edge acting as the valve seat 24. In this embodiment, moreover, the communication between the bore 13a of the sliding member 13 and the inside of the cylinder 21 is effected by an opening 13b in lieu of use of the projections 17 shown in the drawings of the first embodiment. Also, in the second embodiment, the sliding member 13 is formed of two concentric elements, as shown, and the coil spring is interposed between the shelf at the bottom portion of the cylinder 7 and the tubular piston 14.
In connection with FIG. 4, a third embodiment of the present invention will be described. In this structure, the flange 6d of the cap 4 is formed with a stepped tubular portion which includes a guiding cylindrical portion 6/: which extends longitudinally therefrom. From this stepped tubular portion a modified cylinder 26d which includes communicating cylindrical portions 26a and 7b are arranged to extend.
Moreover, the construction of the tubular sliding member 13 of this embodiment is considerably different from those of the first and second embodiments. In this construction the sliding member has its lower end portion expanded downward and outward to form the tubular piston 14a and, at its upper end, there is provided a cylinder 21b the upper end of which is open and also is arranged to reciprocate within the cylinder 26a. The inside of the tubular piston 14a and the cylinder 21b are arranged for communication via the passage 13b of the sliding member. The second valve member 18a is formed to extend from the cylinder 21b by means of theprojections 17a. Into this cylinder 21b is inserted the lower end portion of a communication tube 27 which carries the atomizer head 20. The lower end portion of this tube 27 is formed with a tubular piston 16a and on the peripheral edge of its open bore with the valve seat 2411. The upper portion of the tubular piston 16a is expanded outward to form an annular wall 1612 which acts to prevent the tube 27, which is inserted into the upstanding collar portion 6b, from slipping out. The tubular sliding member is urged upward by the coil spring 19.
Turning now to FIG. 5, a fourth embodiment of the present invention will be described. In the fourth embodiment, specifically, the tubular piston 16 is slidably arranged'in the cylinder 21 and surrounds an extension 1812 of tubular member 13. It will be noted that the atomizer head 20 includes a downwardly extending boss 20b the surface of which includes grooves 200 as shown. With such a construction, the groove 200 can provide communication between the sliding bore 13a and the inside of the tubular piston 16 even when the boss 20b is in engagement with the inner periphery of the bore 13a.
The atomizing operations of the second, third, and fourth embodiments, as described in the above, are carried out in a similar manner to that of the first embodiment. That is to say, when the atomizer head 20 is slightly depressed, the pressure in the pressure chamber, which is defined by the cylinder 7, the cylinder 21 or 21a and the sliding member bore 13a, is boosted. Thus when the boosted pressure reaches a predetermined level, then the second valve member 18 is moved downward together with the tubular sliding member 13 which carries the piston 14. As a result, the second one-way valve 25 is accordingly opened to permit the liquid in the particular pressure chamber to spurt from the nozzle outlet 23 in the atomized condition by way of the valve passage 22. This atomizing operation will continue while the atomizer head 20 is being depressed. When this depressing force is reduced and before its termination, the second one-way valve 25 is closed by the action of the upward biasing force of the coil spring 19. When at a successive stage, the atomizer head 20 is released, the tubular sliding member 13 is moved upward together with the head 20 to change the pressure in the pressure chamber, i.e., in the cylinder 7 into a negative level. As a result, the first one-way valve is opened to admit the liquid into the pressure chamber via the suction tube 8.
As has been described hereinbefore, the present invention eliminates such disadvantages concomitant with the conventional structure as is experienced with liquid injection under insufficiently atomized conditions which comes from the low liquid pressure in the cylinder at the starting and the finishing stages of the depressing stroke of the atomizer head. In the constructions of the above type, however, one problem is still left unsolved satisfactorily. More specifically, when a miniature atomizer of the above type is used for the first time, the desired atomizing operation cannot be accomplished until the air, which prevails in the pressure chamber defined by the two cylinders and the tubular sliding member 13, has been evacuated or replaced by some quantity of a liquid. In such a case, however, where the second one-way valve is not opened until the pressure in the pressure chamber exceeds a predetermined level, as is common among the first to fourth embodiments, a boosted air remains in the pressure chamber even after the atomizer head has been depressed to its lower limit. With the boosted air left in the pressure chamber, therefore, the vacuum obtainable in the chamber is not sufficient to suck a desired quantity of liquid from the container even after the tubular sliding member has been elevated together with the atomizer head at the subsequent state. As a result, the inlet flow of the liquid is considerably restricted for one depressing cycle, and the depressing strokes are required to be repeated several times so as to replace the air in the pressure chamber by the desired quantity of the liquid.
Thus, fifth to ninth embodiments of the present invention having such a feature as can preclude the above disadvantage will now be described. In these embodiments, the excessive air, which might otherwise be left in the pressure chamber after the depressing stroke of the atomizer head, can be scavenged to such an extent as to make it feasible to replace itself by the liquid in the container. 7
First of all, the fifth embodiment will be explained with reference to FIGS. 6 and 7. The feature of this embodiment is found in that the first valve member 10a, which has been exemplified as a ball valve in the foregoing embodiments, is formed on the lower end of an elongated stem 30. The upper portion of this stem 30 is so restricted that it can be freely inserted into the bore 13a of the sliding member when the atomizer head 20 is depressed. The lower portion of the stem 30 is formed with projections 30a which may slide within the longitudinal grooves 7b. The grooves terminate at the shoulder portion 7c, on which the coil spring 19 is placed. The stem 30 is retained in the position shown by the engagement of the projections 30a with the lower end of the coil spring 19. For the same purpose, it is preferable that a stop 31 may depend from the upper end of the sliding valve member 18d.
The remaining portions other than the above construction are quite similar to those of the second embodiment, and as such being the case, their repeated explanations will be omitted by adopting common reference numerals and letters.
With these construction arrangements, when the tubular sliding member 13 is moved downward by the depressing stroke of the atomizer head, the effective volume of the smaller cylinder 7 and the sliding member bore 13a is so reduced as to make it possible to accordingly reduce the quantity of the boosted air which might otherwise be left therein.
The inventive concept of the fifth embodiment is to decrease the volume of the cylinder 7 and the bore 13a as much as possible during the depressing stroke of the atomizer head 20. This concept can also be put into actual practice by the miniature atomizer having the following construction. The common feature among the sixth to ninth embodiments resides in that a relief passage is formed between the tubular piston 14 and the cylinder 7 when the atomizer head is depressed its lower limit. In the sixth, seventh, and eighth embodiments, respectively, of FIGS. 8, 9, and 10, a relief groove 32 is formed in the inner periphery of a lower portion of the cylinder 7. In FIG. 8, a relief groove 32 is formed directly in the cylinder 7 having a unitary structure. In the embodiment of FIG. 9, another inner cylinder 33 is fitted upward into the smaller cylinder 7 to such an extent as to leave an annular portion acting as the relief groove 32. In the embodiment of FIG. 10, the cylinder 7 is formed of an upper chamber 7d having an interlocking means provided at its terminus with a means complemental thereto provided on the upper extremity of the member 7d so the elements may be assembled as shown; Thus, the relief groove 32 is retained beneath the interlocking elements.
With the relief groove 32 thus formed on the lower inner periphery of the cylinder 7, when the tubular piston 14 is moved downward to its lower limit, a relief passage 34 is formed, as shown by the broken lines in FIG. 8, between the inner wall of the groove 32 and the outer face of the tubular piston 14. As a result, the boosted air in the inside of the cylinder 7 and in the sliding member bore 13a is instantly scavenged to the ambient atmosphere by way of the relief passage 34 thus formed. Then, the tubular sliding member 13 is elevated by the biasing action of the coil spring 19 to change the pressure in the pressure chamber to a negative level to permit entry thereinto of the liquid in the container.
ln the ninth embodiment of FIG. 11, a relief means 35 is formed in a lower inner periphery of the cylinder 7. When, in this instance, the tubular piston 14 is moved downward to its lower limit, the outer wall of the piston 14 is partially pushed radially inward by the relief means 35, thus forming around the side walls of the projection 35 a clearance which will act as a relief passage.
As has been described hereinbefore, it should be appreciated as one important advantage of the present invention that, since the second one-way valve 25 is not opened until the pressure in the pressure chamber reaches a predetermined level, the insufficient atomization due to shortage of the injection speed of the liquid can be obviated. It should also be appreciated as another but likewise important advantage that, by adding the construction disclosed in the fifth to ninth embodiments to the miniature atomizer having the first advantage, the boosted air, which might otherwise be left in the pressure chamber, can be instantaneously scavened therefrom and replaced by the desired quantity of the liquid even upon the first use of the atomizer. Although the atomizer according to the present invention can enjoy the above two advantages, it should further be appreciated that it has such a simple construction as to be fabricated at a considerably low cost.
What is claimed is:
1. A liquid spraying device comprising a container for liquid, including an axially perforated cap, spray means including a nozzle associated with said container and including reciprocable means extending through said cap, first pressure chamber means depending beneath said cap, second pressure chamber means in axial alignment with said first pressure chamber means and positioned above said cap, said reciprocable means including plural piston members arranged for cooperation with said axially aligned pressure chambers and further including first valve means, said valve means being arranged to control liquid flow from said second pressure chamber to the nozzle of said spray means, spring means arranged to maintain said first valve means in a closed condition to prevent inadvertent emission of liquid therefrom, second valve means in said first pressure chamber means, liquid carrying means depending from said last-named means and extending into said container, whereby upon reciprocation of said spray means said liquid is transported from the container through the axially aligned first and second pressure chambers and emitted from said nozzle.
2. A liquid spraying device as claimed in claim 1, in which further means are provided for controlling the extent of travel of said reciprocable meansv 3. A liquid spraying device as claimed in claim 1, in which said first pressure chamber means includes a vent means to prevent said liquid container from being excessively evacuated after said spray means is returned to its upper limit.
4. A liquid spraying device as claimed in claim 1, in which the said first valve means further includes an operative element formed integrally with said cap.
5. A liquid spraying device as claimed in claim 1, in which the said first valve means further includes an operative element associated with said cap.
6. A liquid spraying device as claimed in claim 1, in which the said second valve means comprises a ball member.
7. A liquid spraying device as claimed in claim 1, in which the said reciprocable means further includes an axially extending bore.
8. A liquid spraying device as claimed in claim 7, in
which the said second valve means comprises an elongated member extending axially of said first pressure chamber means and further includes means extending into the said bore in said reciprocable means.
9. A liquid spraying device as claimed in claim 1, in which the first pressure chamber means further includes relief means for scavenging the boost air from said first pressure chamber means.
10. A liquid spraying device as claimed in claim 9, in which the said relief means is formed as an undercut annulus in the first pressure chamber means.
11. A liquid spraying device as claimed in claim 9, in which the said relief means includes further means in said first pressure chamber means for deflecting at least a portion of the said piston member that slides therewithin.
12. A liquid spraying device as claimed in claim 1, in which the said first pressure chamber means comprises plural elements provided with complemental means forming a leak-proof interlocked joint.