US 3921860 A
An open top dispensing cup has a continuous sidewall and a bottom wall with an opening therein. A flexible tube is extended through the opening in snug fitting relation so that the upper part of the tube is in the cup and the lower part is in a flexible container to which the cup is removably secured. The container is adapted to hold a liquid which may be forced therefrom, upon squeezing of its sidewall, through the tube and into the cup. The upper end portion of the tube has a plug inserted therein, with the plug having at least one channel constructed to direct liquid from the tube into the container and includes extension for holding the plug and upper end portion of the tube adjacent the sidewall of the cup.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent [191 Zackheim Nov. 25, 1975 LIQUID DISPENSING CUP FOR FLEXIBLE CONTAINER  Inventor: Eli A. Zackheim, Norwich, Conn.
 Assignee: Jules Silver, Norwich, Conn.
 Filed: Apr. 19, 1974  Appl. No.: 462,572
Related U.S. Application Data  Continuation-in-part of Ser. No. 99,582, Dec. 18,
Primary Examiner-Robert B. Reeves Assistant Examiner-Francis J. Bartuska Attorney, Agent, or Firm-John A. Mitchell; Pasquale A. Razzano; Curtis, Morris & Safford  ABSTRACT An open top dispensing cup has a continuous sidewall and a bottom wall with an opening therein. A flexible tube is extended through the opening in snug fitting relation so that the upper part of the tube is in the cup and the lower part is in a flexible container to which the cup is removably secured. The container is adapted to hold a liquid which may be forced therefrom, upon squeezing of its sidewall, through the tube and into the cup. The upper end portion of the tube has a plug inserted therein, with the plug having at least one channel constructed to direct liquid from the tube into the container and includes extension for holding the plug and upper end portion of the tube adjacent the sidewall of the cup.
19 Claims, 4 Drawing Figures US. Patent Nov. 25, 1975 3,921,860
LIQUID DISPENSING CUP FOR FLEXIBLE CONTAINER This application is a continuation-in-part of US. Patent application Ser. No. 99,582 filed Dec. 18, 1970 now abandoned, the disclosure of which is incorporated herein by reference.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION The present invention relates to a liquid dispenser, and more particularly to a dispensing cup for a flexible container which is adapted to receive and retain liquid expelled from the container upon squeezing.
Flexible wall containers with attached or fitted dispensers have been previously proposed in the prior art for a number of various uses. Typically the dispensers are used for measuring a quantity of liquid dispensed from the flexible wall container upon squeezing, and a number of such dispensers are discussed in detail in my above-mentioned copending patent application.
It has been found that a dispenser which can contain a controlled or measured amount of liquid from a flexible container, is advantageously used in connection with disease prevention in the dairy industry. For example, research has been conducted which confirms that after milking, dipping of a cows teats with a properly prepared germicidal solution can control mastitis in the cow.
Such dipping has previously been performed by physically pouring a supply of the germicidal solution into a separate cup or container into which the farmer then dips the cows teats. In my above-mentioned copending application, a more economical construction was provided for dipping which permits the farmer to quickly measure out the germicidal solution, as required, into a cup which is secured to the flexible container holding a supply of liquid, which cup is designed to accommodate the teat.
It is an object of the present invention to provide a cup or receptacle for a flexible wall container which is adapted to contain a supply of solution for teat dipping while providing a substantially unobstructed opening to accommodate the teat.
Another object of the present invention is to provide an improved dispenser which is particularly suited for use with flexible wall containers.
A still further object of the present invention is to provide a dispensing cup or receptacle which is of relatively simple construction and which is readily usable for teat dipping and other uses.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION In accordance with an aspect of the present invention, an open top dispensing cup, which is adapted to be secured to the opened end of a flexible container having a supply of liquid therein, includes a receptacle portion for liquid having an open top and a continuous peripheral sidewall which tapers or is inclined from its open top to a smaller bottom end portion which is adapted to be secured to the open end or neck of the flexible container. The receptacle portion of the cup has a bottom wall in its bottom end portion which includes an opening formed therein that receives a flexible tube. The tube has an upper end portion which is located within the receptacle portion of the cup adjacent its open top and a lower end portion which is 2 cated in the flexible container when the cup is secured thereto.
The opening in the bottom wall of the receptacle portion of the cup has a diameter that is less than the outside diameter of the tube so that the tube fits snugly in the opening and forms a substantially liquid-tight seal therewith. An outlet plug is inserted in the upper end portion of the flexible tube for the purpose of diverting liquid from the tube into the cup. The plug includes a deflector surface which is spaced from and faces the upper end portion of the tube and a stem which extends from the deflector surface and is inserted in the upper end portion of the tube. The plug stem has a plurality of elongated arms or fins that extend outwardly therefrom to define liquid flow channels therebetween. These arms or fins have free outer end portions which are spaced from each other a distance slightly greater than the internal diameter of the flexible tube so that the tube is stretched taut across the ribs over the channels. Accordingly, upon deformation of the walls of the container inwardly, liquid is forced from the container through the tube and the channels between the arms of the plug stem, and thence into the receptacle. Means are also provided for holding the plug and upper end portion of the flexible tube adjacent the side wall of the receptacle.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS The above, and other objects, features and advantages of the present invention, will be apparent in the following detailed description of an illustrative embodiment thereof which is to be read in connection with the accompanying drawings, wherein:
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a dispenser cup constructed in accordance with the present invention and mounted on a flexible wall container;
FIG. 2 is an elevational view, in section, through the dispenser cup and container combination of FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is a bottom view, taken along lines 3-3 of FIG. 2, of the tube plug used in the cup of the present invention; and a FIG. 4 is a sectional view of the plug and upper end portion of the flexible tube, taken along lines 4-4 of FIG. 3.
DESCRIPTION OF THE ILLUSTRATED EMBODIMENT Referring now to the drawing in detail, and initially to FIG. 1 thereof, it is seen that a flexible container 10, formed of a suitable material such as polyethylene or polypropylene, is filled with a germicidal liquid 12 that is usable as a teat dip. The container 10 has a neck 14 which has a set of integrally molded or formed threads 16 on its outer surface. A dispenser cup 18, constructed in accordance with the present invention, is threadedly secured to the neck 14 of container 10, and is adapted to receive a supply of germicidal liquid from the container 10, upon squeezing thereof, to make the liquid (as shown in FIG. 2) available for teat dipping as described hereinafter.
Dispenser cup 18 has a generally inverted frustoconical configuration including a peripheral wall 20, which defines a receptacle portion 21 for the liquid 12 and which is tapered or inclined from an open upper end 24 downwardly and inwardly to a lower end portion 26 which defines a generally cylindrical neck. The latter has internal threads 28 formed thereon which are adapted to be threadedly engaged with threads 16 of container neck 14. Accordingly, it will be seen that the cup 18 of the present invention is fitted onto flexible container by simply screwing the threads 28 of neck 26 onto the threads 16 of neck 14.
Cup 18 also includes a lower or bottom wall formed integrally therewith and positioned to be adjacent to the open end portion 32 of neck 14 when the cup is fully threaded on container 10. Bottom wall 30 has an eccentrically positioned opening 34 formed therein which is preferentially located towards one side of the cup 18, as will be described hereinafter.
A flexible tube 36, preferably formed of a soft but resilient material such as rubber or polyvinyl chloride, is positioned in opening 34 with its upper end portion 38 located within cup 18 and its lower end portion 40 located adjacent the base of container 10. The outside diameter of tube 36, and the diameter of opening 34 are selected such that the diameter of opening 34 is slightly smaller than the outside diameter of tube 36, so that a snug fit between the tube and the opening is achieved. This snug fit makes the base or bottom wall 30 of cup 18 substantially liquid-tight at opening 34 so that liquid placed in the receptacle above wall 30 will be retained therein and will not drip down into the container 12.
The upper end portion 38 of tube 36 includes an open upper end 42 which receives a deflector outlet plug 44 therein. Plug 44 is adapted to direct fluid squeezed from container 10 through tube 36 towards the base 30 of cup 18. The plug is seen in greater detail in FIGS. 3 and 4, and includes a top wall 46 having a lower deflecting surface 48 which faces the upper end portion 42 of tube 38 to deflect liquid ejected from the tube. The plug also includes, integrally formed therewith, an integral stem 50 which extends downwardly from surface 48 of top 46. This stem is provided with at least one and preferably a plurality of channels formed therein to permit liquid to flow from tube 38 against surface 48 and out, downward into cup 18.
As seen in FIG. 3, stem 50 preferably has a generally cruciform configuration with four radially extending arms or fins 52 formed integrally therewith. The fins 52 define channels 54 therebetween through which the liquid in tube 36 flows. In accordance with one aspect of the present invention, the diameter of stem 50, i.e., the distance between the free ends of diametrically opposed fins 52, is selected to be greater than the internal diameter of tube 36. By this construction, when stem 50 is forced into the upper end portion 38 of tube 36, the flexible tube will be stretched taut about the stem, as seen in FIG. 3, so that it does not collapse and close off channels 54. In this connection, it is noted that in the cruciform configuration of the illustrative embodiment, the chord distances between the free ends of fins 52 will be substantially the same or slightly greater than the internal diameter of the flexible tube 36. For example, it is contemplated that, in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention, where a tube 36 having an internal diameter of 0.150 inches is used, the maximum diameter of stem 50 can be 0.190 inches and the chord distance between the free ends of the fins can be 0.155 inches. Due to the flexible nature of the tube 36, the oversize diameters of the stern are readily accommodated within the ends of the flexible tube. However, to assist insertion, the lower end portions 56 of the respective fins or arms 52 can be tapered slightly, as seen in FIG. 4, to assist in insertion.
In order to insure that liquid from tube 36 is expelled through plug 44, the plug is provided with means for preventing engagement of the top edge 42 of the tube with the surface 48 of the plug. Thus, each of the fins or arms 52 is provided with an upper radial extension 58 against which the end 42 of tube 36 abuts when the plug is properly inserted in the tube. In this manner, the end 42 is maintained in a pre-determined spaced relationship from the surface 48 so that liquid in the tube can flow over the upper edge 42 of the tube and into the receptacle 18.
In accordance with another feature of the invention, plug 44 is constructed to insure that liquid dispensed from tube 36 is directed downwardly towards the base of the receptacle so that no liquid will splash or be inadvertently expelled over the tape edge 24 of the cup, even upon vigorous squeezing of flexible container 10. Thus, plug 44 is provided with a generally cylindrical peripheral flange 60 which surrounds the upper end portion 38 of tube 36, as seen in FIG. 4. The internal diameter of flange 60 is selected to be slightly greater than the outside diameter of tube 36, so that the tube can be accommodated within the flange. By this arrangement a free passage 62 on the outside of tube 36, but within flange 60, is provided (see FIG. 3). That is, since tube 36 is held taut on fins 52 of stem 50 the side walls of the tube assume a generally straight-line condition adjacent channels 54 so that substantial free space is provided on the exterior of tube 36, between the tube and the internal cylindrical surface of flange 60. It is this space which forms the passage 62. As a result, it will be appreciated that upon squeezing of container 10, liquid in the container will be forced up tube 36, through the channels 54 defined between fins 52 and tube 36 against the surface 48 of the plug, and then over the top edge of the tube through passage 62 towards the bottom wall 30 of receptacle 18. In this manner a positive deflection of the liquid forced from the container is achieved which substantially overcomes any tendency for the liquid, even under substantial squeezing pressure, to be ejected out of the container.
In order to keep the interior of the cup or receptacle l8 clean when not in use, a cover 62 is connected to cup 18 by a generally U-shaped hinge 64. The hinge is preferably integrally formed with cup 18, with the legs of the U-shaped hinge extending generally radially from the cup and its bight portion being spaced from the cup and providing the hinge mounting for cover 62. This mounting may be in a snap fit arrangement, as seen in FIG. 2. Cover 62 can also be provided with a latch portion or lip 66 which is engageable with a complementary lip 68 formed at the upper edge of receptacle 18.
As previously mentioned, the opening 34 in bottom wall 30 is preferentially located and is eccentric from the center of the generally circular bottom wall 30 (see FIGS. 1 and 2). The preferential location of opening 30 is selected such that the opening is in generally radial alignment with the location of the hinge 64 so that the upper end portion 30 of tube 36 is directed upwardly towards the hinge. The plug 44, which closes the upper end portion of tube 36, is provided with means that cooperates with the generally U-shaped configuration of hinge 64 to hold the plug and upper end portion of the tube adjacent the sidewall 20 of the cup thereby to leave a maximum area of the cup exposed for insertion of the teat. Thus, plug 44 is provided with an extension 5. or tab 70 formed integrally therewith and located (as seen in FIG. 4) in generally spaced relation to theexterior of flange 60. The spacing between tab 70 and flange 60 is selected such that the upper edge portion 24 of cup 18v can be received therebetween, as seen in FIG. 2. The width of tab 70 is selected such that it is slightly less than thedistance between the leg portions of the U-shaped hinge 64, so that the tab can be inserted between the leg portions of the hinge. By this arrangement, plug 44, and thus the upper end portion of tube 36, is simultaneously held adjacent the sidewall 20 of cup 18 and its peripheral position along the receptacle is fixed, without the need for any further mechanical connection of the plug to the cup. By preferentially locating opening 34 in the manner described above, the amount of bending required in tube 36 is reduced and a maximum area and volume in cup 18 is left free.
In actual operation cup 18 is normally closed by cover 62 with a supply of germicidal liquid held within container 10. After a cow is milked, the farmer simply opens cap 62 and squeezes container until a sufficient amount of liquid has entered receptacle 18. Upon squeezing, the pressure within container 10 is increased, forcing liquid 12 up tube 36 to plug 44 wherein the liquid is divided into four separate streams in the channels 54 formed by fins 52'. These streams of liquid engage the deflecting surface 48 of the plug and are deflected outwardly over the upper edge portion 42 of the tube. The flange 60 then diverts this outwardly moving liquid downwardly towards the bottom of cup 18 between the exterior surface of the tube and the interior surfaces of the flange into the passageway 62 de-' fined therebetwe en. When a sufficient supply of liquid is placed in cup 18, the farmer simply dips the cows teat into the liquid, as illustrated in FIG. 2. The teat will not be injured by the presence of tube 36 within cup 18 since the tube is formed of a soft material and is easily deflected to one side or the other by the teat. Moreover, because of the mounting arrangement for plug 44, the plug and tube are kept at all times from intruding inside of the receptacle or interfering with the teat dipping operation. Thus a substantial area of the receptacle remains free for insertion of the teat.
Although an illustrative embodiment of the present invention has been described herein with reference to the accompanying drawing, it is to be understood that the invention is not limited to that precise embodiment, and that various changes and modifications may be effected therein by one skilled in the art without departing from the scope or spirit of this invention.
What is claimed is:
1. An open top dispensing cup suitable for use in teat treatment and adapted to be secured to the open neck of a flexible container having a supply of teat treating liquid therein, said cup comprising a liquid receptacle portion having an open top and a continuous peripheral sidewall tapering from said open top to a smaller bottom end portion adapted to be secured to the neck of said container; said receptacle portion having a bottom wall in said bottom end portion and said bottom wall having an opening formed therein; a flexible tubs extending through said opening and having a first end portion located within said receptacle portion adjacent said open top and a second end portion located in said flexible container; and an outlet plug inserted in said first end portion of the flexible tube, said plug including means for securing the plug and first end portion of said flexible tube to said sidewall and at least one channel 6. formed therein for providing liquid communication between the interior of said tube and said receptacle portion, whereby upon deformation of the walls of the container. inwardly liquid is forced from said container,
through said tube and plug into said receptacle portion channels formed therein; said channels having configurations selected to deflect liquid flowing in said tube downwardly towards the bottom wall of said receptacle portion. I
4. The dispensing cup as defined in claim 1 wherein said plug comprises a top including a downwardly extending peripheral flange having an open bottom, said flange surrounding said tube and having an internal cross-sectional dimension which is greater than the external diameter of of said tube; and a stern extending generally axially of said plug top and adapted to be inserted in said tube, said stem having said at least one channel formed therein.
5 The dispensing cup as defined in claim 4 wherein said stem has a plurality of radially extending arms formed along its length,jsaid arms cooperating to define liquid flow channels therebetween.
6. The dispensing cup as defined in claim 5 wherein the maximum cross-sectional dimension of said stem is greater than the internal diameter of said flexible tube, whereby said flexible tube is stretched taut between said arms and across said channels whereby liquid forced up said tube flows in said channels between said stem and the tube and thence flows from the top of said tube into said receptacle portion between the exterior surface of the tube and said peripheral flange.
7. The dispensing cup as defined in claim 6 wherein said plug top includes radial extensions of said arms, said radial extensions defining stops for the end of said tube to limit insertion of said stem into said tube and permit free liquid flow from the tube to said receptacle portion.
8. The dispensing cup as defined in claim 7 wherein said flange is is generally cylindrical and said stem is generally cruciform in cross-section; the diagonal dimensions of said cruciform stem being greater than the internal diameter of said tube.
9. The dispensing cup as defined in claim 4 wherein said plug includes an integral extension spaced from said flange a distance greater than the thickness of said peripheral sidewall; said extension defining said securing means and being adapted to receive the top edge of said receptacle between itself and the flange of said plug, thereby to hold said plug and first portion of said tube adjacent the peripheral wall of said receptacle.
10. The dispensing cup as defined in claim 9 wherein said bottom wall opening is eccentrically located.
1 1. The dispensing cup as defined in claim 10 including a cover for said receptacle and hinge means for pivotally mounting said cover on said receptacle, said hinge being located on said receptacle in generally radial alignment with and adjacent to said bottom wall opening.
12. The dispensing cup as defined in claim 11 wherein said hinge means has an aperture therein and 7 said plug extension is adapted to be received in said aperture, whereby said plug is held in a fixed position in said receptacle adjacent said hinge.
13. An open top dispensing cup adapted to be secured to the open end of a flexible container having a supply of liquid therein, said cup comprising a liquid receptacle portion having an open top and a continuous peripheral sidewall tapering from said open top to a smaller bottom end portion adapted to be secured to said open end of the flexible container; said receptacle portion having a bottom wall in said bottom end portion thereof, and said bottom wall having an opening formed therein; a flexible tube extending through said opening and having an upper end portion located within said receptacle portion adjacent said open top and a lower end portion located in said flexible container; said opening in said bottom wall having a diameter which is less than the outside diameter of said tube whereby said tube fits snugly in said opening and forms a substantially liquid-tight seal therewith; and an outlet plug inserted in said upper end portion of the tube for diverting liquid from the tube into said receptacle; said plug including a deflecting surface facing said upper end portion of the tube and a stem extending from said surface and inserted in said upper end portion of the tube, said stern having a plurality of elongated arms extending outwardly therefrom and defining liquid flow channels therebetween; said arms having free outer ends spaced from each other a distance slightly greater than the internal diameter of said tube, whereby said tube is stretched taut across said arms over said channels and upon deformation of the walls of the container inwardly, liquid is forced from the container through 8 said tube in the channels between said arms and into said receptacle; said plug including means for mounting the plug and upper end portion of the tube adjacent the open top and peripheral wall of said receptacle.
14. The dispensing cup as defined in claim 13 wherein said upper end portion of said tube has a free upper edge and said plug includes means for maintaining said free upper edge of the tube in spaced relation to said deflecting surface.
15. The dispensing cup as defined in claim 14 wherein said maintaining means comprises radial extensions of said arms located adjacent said deflecting surface and extending beyond the outside diameter of said tube.
16. The dispensing cup as defined in claim 15 wherein said stem is generally cruciform in cross-section.
17. The dispensing cup as defined in claim 14 wherein said plug includes a cylindrical flange surrounding and radially spaced from the upper end portion of said tube whereby liquid flowing in said channels is deflected by said deflecting surface and flange downwardly into said receptacle.
18. The dispensing cup as defined in claim 13 wherein said receptacle portion includes a generally U- shaped retaining member extending radially outwardly from the exterior of the receptacle portion and said last mentioned means comprises a plug extension received in said retaining member.
19. The dispensing container as defined in claim 18 including a cover for said receptacle pivotally mounted on the bight portion of said retaining member.