US 3306500 A
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Feb. 28, 1967 D. WILLIAMS 3,306,500
SQUEEZE TUBE DISPENSER Filed NOV. 12, 1965 INVENTOR. AL FRED Z2 W/LL/AMS BY 64m. @m
A TTORNEYS United States Patent 3,306,500 SQUEEZE TUBE DISPENSER Alfred D. Williams, 15 Hillcrest Ave., St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada Filed Nov. 12, 1965, Ser. No. 507,290 6 Claims. (Cl. 222-209) This invention relates to container-dispensers for plastic or cream-like materials; and more particularly to such dispensers of the hand-held squeeze tube type.
It is an object of the present invention to provide an improved device as aforesaid characterized by the fact that it may be held in one hand only and squeezed at any position along its length with a pumping action; whereby the tube contents will be expelled at the desired rate and. the tube will empty progressively from the closed end to the exit end thereof.
Another object is to provide an improved device as aforesaid which functions automatically and with utmost ease and facility, so that the user may disregard the position and nature of his grip upon the tube while dispensing the contents of the tube, and concentrate only upon the point of application of the contents.
For example, many pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, comestibles or the like, and a large variety of other materials of plastic or cream-like consistency are presently packaged in pliable plastic or metallic tubes adapted to be hand-held and squeezed to express the contents from exit nozzles at one end thereof. However, in its simplest form a tube of this type is vulnerable to misuse in the hands of a careless or otherwise occupied operator, because of the instinctive tendency to squeeze such a tube in the middle and thus choke off the passageway from its closed end to the exit nozzle. More importantly, when in the hands of a technician and when the precise application of the tube contents is a critical matter, it is essential that the user need not be concerned primarily with the nature of his grip upon the tube while pumping the latter to expel the contents.
Although various devices have been previously suggested for solving the problem hereinabove referred to, they have not provided satisfactory solutions; and other wise stated, it is the object of the present invention to provide an improved squeeze-tube device which will avoid the difficulties and disadvantages of the prior art and provide a dependable, automatically, and positively operable device for the aforesaid purposes.
Other, more specific, objects of the invention will be apparent from the accompanying specification and the accompanying drawing, wherein:
FIG. 1 is a side elevational view of a squeeze-tube embodying the invention;
FIG. 2 is a sectional view taken as suggested by line 22 of FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is a top plan view of the tube of FIG. 1;
FIGS. 4, are sectional views taken as suggested by lines 44, and 5-5, respectively, of FIG. 1;
FIG. 6 is a fragmentary sectional view taken as suggested by line 66 of FIG. 2; and
FIG. 7 is a disassembled elevational view on reduced scale of an operative component of the device of the in vention.
As shown by Way of example herein the invention may be embodied in the form of a conventionally shaped tube designated generally at 10; the tube 10 being closed at one end as indicated at 12 and necked down at its other end as indicated at 14 and provided thereat with an exit aperture as indicated at 15. Thus, the tube may be closed by means of a screw-threaded cap, plug, or the like (not shown) in conventional manner. Also, the tube 10 may of course be of any preferred shape or style, in lieu of the cylindrical form shown herein.
3,306,500 Patented Feb. 28, 1967 "ice In accordance with the present invention a novel pressure-transmitting bladder device is provided such as indicated generally at 16 (FIG. 7). The bladder 16 may be provided in the form of a flat-sided bag or envelope fabri-. cated of any suitable pliable air-tight sheet material such as plastic, rubber, or the like; to be completely air-sealed except at a neck portion 18 which is perforated to provide an air inlet passageway 19 arranged to be normally closed by means of a check valve 20. The check valve may of course be of any suitable type, and in any case it is arranged to readily permit ingress ofair through the opening 19 int-o the interior of the bladder under suitable pressure differential conditions at opposite sides of the valve, while automatically seating under opposite pressure differential conditions to prevent expulsion of air from the bladder.
As shown in FIGS. 1-5 herewith, the bladder 16 is initially disposed interiorily of the tube 10 in its fully deflated fiat sheet-like form, and is arranged in the manner of a liner pressed around against the inside wall surface of the container 10; the check valve neck portion 18 of the bladder being so assembled as to protrude through an apertured shoulder portion 24 of the tube 10 and to be air-sealed thereat as by means of a cap piece 26 or the like. Hence, although the bladder 16 is completely confined within the tube 10, it will be appreciated that the bladder may breathe in air from outside of the tube under appropriate pressure differential conditions.
It will of course be appreciated that the tube and bladder components may be fabricated of any preferred materials selected from a large available variety thereof, and assembled in any preferred manner and by any preferred processes. In any case the tube 10 will be fabricated of some suitably resilient rubber-like or plastic material such as for example polyurethane, polyethylene, or the like; molded at one end to provide the neckeddown shoulder portion 24 and the exit nozzle portion 14 while initially being left open at the opposite end thereof. The rubber or plastic bladder member 16 may then be slip-fitted through the open bottom end of the tube and arranged in the form of a lining for the tube while the valve neck portion 18 of the bladder is slip-fitted through the apertured portion of the tube shoulder and then sealed thereto. The material to be contained within and dispensed from the tube may then be loaded into the tube through the open bottom end thereof, whereupon the bottom end will be closed and sealed as for example by means of heat-sealing or by means of a closure clamp piece or the like as indicated at 12.
It is a particular feature of the present invention that the bladder member 16 is of larger volumetric capacity at its bottom end as shown in FIGS. 1, 7, compared to its volumetric capacity at its upper or check valve end portion. Thus for example as shown in FIG. 7, when in flatfolded form, the bladder is of greater width across its bottom level than at its top level, and preferably tapers uniformly therebetween. Because of this arrangement whenever the contents of the tube 10 are to be expressed therefrom, it is only necessary to squeeze the tube at any posiiton along its length. Initially, when the tube is first opened for use and squeezing pressure is applied, the pressure will exert directly against the tube contents which, being of plastic form, proceeds to flow through the dispensing aperture 15. Dispensing flow ceases when the squeezing pressure stops. As shown in FIG. 1, the bladder is preferably dimensioned so that when it is initially coiled inside the tube the side edges thereof overlap in the lower portion of the tube.
However, it is another particular feature of the arrangement of the invention that the exit orifice 15 through Which the tube contents are expressed, is provided to be of such diameter and length, taking into consideration the viscosity characteristics of the material being handled, that appreciable resistance to material flow through the orifice 15 exists when squeezing pressures on the tube are relaxed. Then, as the tube 10 expands back to its normal shape and size, due to the inherent resiliency of the material thereof, this causes the check valve 20 to open to permit ingress of air into the bladder 16 to replace the volume of space previously occupied by the tube contents dispensed. Thus, the resiliency characteristics of the tube per se operate to provide for a pumping type dispensing operation, as the result of intermittent hand squeezing actions by the user; the bladder 16 becoming increasingly inflated as the process continues and thereupon acting to transmit to the tube contents the user-applied squeeze forces.
As previously stated, the form of the bladder 16 accounts for the novel and improved operation of the device. It is because of the larger available volumetric capacity of the bladder at the bottom level thereof, which decreases gradually toward the top end of the bladder, that as air is drawn into the bladder as explained hereinabove it migrates initially into the bottom portion of the tube, and thence'fort-h presses progressively upwardly within the tube toward the exit nozzle. Hence, it will appreciated that by virtue of the invention squeezing of the tube at any time, without any attention by the user as to where the squeezing pressures are applied, will cause the tube contents to be dispensed as desired and in such manner as to initially empty the bottom end of the tube and to progress the evacuation upwardly until all of the tube contents are dispensed. It will be apparent that the invention provides another advantageous feature, in that the overall general form and feel of the tube remains unchanged throughout the dispensing operation. Thus, when in the hands of a technician or the like and when the tube is being used as a tool for precisely dispensing the contents thereof, the shape and feel of the tool in the technicians hand remain unchanged.
It will of course be understood that although only one form of the invention has been illustrated and described in detail hereinabove, various changes may be made therein without departing from the spirit of the invention or the scope of the following claims.
1. A container-dispenser for plastic materials comprising in combination, a container of resilient wall form adapted to be hand-held and alternately squeezed and relieved to permit it to return to its normal shape, said container having a dispensing nozzle and being adapted to contain a supply of plastic material to be dispensed by alternately squeezing and releasing said container, an initially empty bladder disposed flat-wise against an inside wall surface of said container in the form of a liner therewithin disposed to intervene between the container contents and the inside wall of said container, said bladder having an inlet device arranged to extend through a Wall portion of said container, and a check valve operable to permit ambient atmosphere to enter said bladder through said inlet device but to prevent egress of atmosphere from interiorly of said bladder through said inlet device, said bladder being sectionally dimensioned so as to have its greatest volumetric capacity in the region of that portion of said container which is remotest from said dispensing nozzle and said volumetric capacity decreasing progressively therefrom toward the region of the dispensing nozzle portion of said container.
2. A container-dispenser for plastic materials as set forth in claim 1 wherein said container is of tube-like form. and said bladder is initially empty and flat-wise coiled into a sleeve-like liner for-m inside said tube against the inside Wall surfaces thereof.
3. A container-dispenser as set forth in claim 1 wherein the bladder inlet device comprises a neck-like structure which extends through and is fluid-sealed in relation to an apertured wall portion of said container.
4. A container-dispenser as set forth in claim 1 wherein said container is of tube-like form closed at one end and formed at its other end with an annular shoulder-like wall structure terminating in a necked-down dispensing nozzle, and wherein the bladder inlet device comprises a tubular conduit extending in fluid-sealed relation through an apertured portion of said container shoulderlike wall structure.
5. A container-dispenser as set forth in claim 1 wherein said bladder comprises, before installation in said container, a flat bag-like fabrication of tapering side view form wherein the Width dimension thereof is greatest across the closed end portion thereof and narrows progressively towards the inlet carrying end portion thereof.
6. A container-dispenser as set forth in claim 1 wherein said container dispensing nozzle includes a material dispensing passageway of such length and so restricted in sectional dimensions as to exert substantial resistance to flow of material through said passageway.
References Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS 11/1943 Sussman et al. 222386.5 X 1/ 1957 Bensen 222209
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