US 3760988 A
Safety actuator means adapted for securement to an aerosol container including a cap and a toggle-type actuator with means for digital engagement, said digital engageable means having to be simultaneously manually operated to operate the valve stem of the aerosol container, said digital operable means being such as to make operation by a child virtually impossible and thus providing a safety factor against the use of same by children.
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Hittite States Patet =n91 Ostrowsky  Sept 1973 SAFETY ACTUATOR MEANS FOR USE WITH AEROSOL DISPENSERS [75 I Inventor: Efrem M. Ostrowsky, Highland Park, Ill.
 Assignee: Federal Tool & Plastics (a division of VCA Corporation), Chicago, Ill.
 Filed: May 4, 1972 ] Appl. No.: 250,174
 US. Cl 222/153, 222/182, ZZZ/402.11  Int. Cl 865d 83/14  Field of Search 222/153, 182, 402.11, 222/402.13
 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 9/1971 DUI'SO 222/182 6/1967 Monahon ZZZ/402.13
3,404,814 10/1968 Wakeman ..222/402.13
Prir nary Examiner-Robert B. Reeves Assistant Examiner-Thomas E. Kocovsky Attorney-Max R. Kraus [5 7 ABSTRACT Safety actuator means adapted for securement to an aerosol container including a cap and a toggle-type actuator with means for digital engagement, said digital engageable means having to be simultaneously manually operated to operate the valve stem of the aerosol container, said digital operable means being such as to make operation by a child virtually impossible and thus providing a safety factor against the use of same by children.
13 Claims, 13 Drawing Figures PATENTEU SEPZ 5 9 3 SHEEI 1 BF 2 SAFETY ACTUATOR MEANS FOR USE WITH AEROSOL DISPENSERS BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION It is well recognized that children can readily operate a conventional aerosol unit by merely pressing against the valve actuating means. This can cause a serious and dangerous condition which is injurious to a child or to others, particularly if the spray is directed against the eyes or to any other part of the body. Even if the discharged contents are not harmful, the unauthorized discharge of same can result in producing a messy condition. It is therefore the principal object of this invention to provide the conventional aerosol can with actuating means which will prevent operation of the discharge valve of an aerosol unit unless there is a simultaneous plurality of digital contacts with manual pressure applied thereagainst. This makes it virtually impossible for a child to simultaneously apply the plurality of digital contacts with the simultaneous manual pressure that is necessary and therefore guards against the unauthorized use of such an aerosol dispenser by a child who would not be mature enough to apply the physical effort and/or have knowledge of the manner in which the valve can be operated, nor have sufficiently developed manual dexterity to simultaneously operate three different levers.
Another object of this invention is to provide an actuator which requires the simultaneous use of three digital members and the simultaneous pressure of said digital members to actuate the aerosol valve.
Another object of this invention is to provide a unit which is relatively inexpensive to produce and which may be readily secured to the conventional aerosol container.
Another object of this invention is to provide a unit in which the cap is so shaped that the pressible actuating means for operating the cap are confined within the circumference of the cap so that the units may be shipped and stacked with the manually engageable actuating means making no contact with other adjacent stacked units.
DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS In the drawings:
FIGS. I through 9 show one embodiment and FIGS. 10 through 13 show another embodiment.
FIG. I is a front perspective view of one embodiment.
FIG. 2 is a top plan view of FIG. 1.
FIG. 3 is a bottom plan view.
FIG. 4 is a sectional view taken on line 44 of FIG. 2 with the parts in normal non-actuated position.
FIG. 5 is a sectional view similar to FIG. 4 but with the parts pressedinwardly as when actuated to operate the aerosol valve.
FIG. 6 is a sectional view taken on line 6-6 of FIG. 4.
FIG. 7 is-a perspective view of the toggle-type actuator in the position it occupies in the cap.
FIG. 8 is a side elevational view of the toggle-type actuator horizontally extended, similar to the manner it would be integrally molded.
FIG, 9is a bottom view of the toggle-type actuator taken in the position of FIG. 8.
FIG. 10 is a central sectional view of a modification with the parts in normal non-actuated position.
FIG. 11 is a view similar to FIG. 10 but with the parts pressed inwardly as when activated to operate the ac rosol valve.
FIG. 12 is a view taken on line 12-12 of FIG. 10, and
FIG. 13 is a sectional view taken on line Iii-13 of FIG. 11.
This invention, as shown in the several embodiments of FIGS. 1 through 13, is adapted for use in connection with conventional aerosol containers having depressible valve stems. The conventional aerosol container, indicated by the numeral 10, is provided with a top 12 which is peripherally clinched to the container to provide an annular rim 14. A closure or mounting cup 16 is peripherally clinched to the top 12 of the container in the conventional manner to provide an annular bead 18. The closure or mounting cup 16 has a central opening 20 partially through which extends the conventional valve stem 22 which is spring biased and which is normally maintained in its elevated or raised position to close the discharge outlet through said valve stem. When the valve stem 22 is depressed or pushed inwardly relative to the container and parallel to the axis of the container then the aerosol material in the container is discharged through the valve stem, all of which is conventional.
The invention shown in FIGS. 1 through 9 will be first described.
The unit of this invention is formed essentially of two main components, namely, a cap generally designated by the numeral 24 and a toggle-type actuator generally designated by the numeral 26. Both the cap and'the toggle-type actuator are each integrally molded by injection molding and are formed of a plastic material. The cap 24 is provided with a hollow body or shell generally indicated at 28, with the bottom or skirt portion 30 thereof of annular shape, with the bottom edge having an annular inverted L-shaped recess 32 to provide a horizontal shoulder and a vertical annular outer wall which, as shown in FIGS. 4 and 5, is adapted to seat on the annular rim 14 of the aerosol container. The interior wall 25 of the cap above the skirt is of annular shape with a slight inward incline from the bottom towards the top.
The exterior surface of the shell body of the cap has a rear portion 34 which is of arcuate shape and has a slight inward slope as at 35 from the bottom toward the top, as best seen in FIG. 6. The rear portion 34 of the shell body is cored out as indicated at 37, principally for molding purposes so that a spacing is provided at the rear of the shell body between the interior annular wall 25 and the rear exterior wall 34'.
The exterior surface of the shell body of the cap is shaped so that it provides two opposite sides 36 which are recessed inwardly from the arcuate circumference 34- and the opposite sides 36 in the main are generally planar and extend substantially parallel to each other but have a slight inward slope from above the top 38 of the skirt 30 to the top of the cap. Each side 36 is provided with a rectangular-shaped opening '40 through which the tabs of the toggle-type actuator are adapted to extend, as will be presently described.
The exterior surface of the body of the cap has a front recessed portion 42 which is likewise generally planar and has a slight inward slope from above the top of the skirt to the top of the cap. The front side 42 is provided with an elongated opening 44 adjacent the lower end thereof, the purpose of which is to accommodate the spout end of the discharge nozzle which is operatively connected to the toggle-type actuator. The cap, therefore, is provided with an arcuate-shaped rear 34 and inwardly extending spaced sides 36 and an inwardly extending recessed front portion 42.
The exterior surface of the shell of the cap is provided with a top wall 45 which is centrally recessed as at 46 to provide raised parallel portions 47. The top of the cap has a central opening 48 bounded by an annular wall or sleeve 49 which extends into the interior of the cap a short distance below the top thereof. The interior of the cap inwardly of the top of the skirt 30 is provided with a short annular wall 50 terminating in an inwardly extending annular lip 51 which, as best shown in FIGS. 4 and 5, is adapted to engage the annular bead 18 on the container for the purpose of non-detachably securing the cap to the container.
The toggle-type actuator generally designated by the numeral 26, best shown in FIGS. 4, 5, 7, 8 and 9, is integrally molded of plastic material and comprises a cen tral section 52 with an intermediate adjacent section 53 on each side of the central section and a generally L- shaped section 54 adjacent each of the intermediate sections 53 and an end section 55 on each side of the L-shaped section 54. A hinge 56 is formed between the central and intermediate sections 52 and 53 and a hinge 57 is formed between the intermediate and L- shaped sections 53 and 54 and a hinge 58 is formed between the L-shaped and end sections 54 and 55, the material along each of the hinges 56, 57 and 58 being of less thickness than the material of the sections 52, 53, 54 and 55. The ends of each of the sections adjacent each of the hinges are tapered or inclined, as generally indicated at 60, for all of said hinges.
Each of the end sections 55 has an extension extending perpendicular to its respective end section, which extensions when in abutting relation, as shown in FIGS. 4, and 7, combine to form the button-type digital depressible member generally indicated at 61. One of said extensions is indicated by the numeral 62 and the other by the numeral 63. Extension 63 is of a generally inverted L-shaped configuration with the inner vertical flat wall 64 provided with spaced recesses 65. The other extension 62 is provided with a plurality of spaced tits 66 which are received in the spaced recesses 65 to interlock the two extensions 62 and 63. The horizontal top portion 67 of the extension 63 extends over the extension 62 so that a flat surface is presented which extends through the cap opening for digital engagement. The horizontal top portion 67 is round and the exterior side surfaces of the extensions 62 and 63 are curvilinear so that when the extensions 62 and 63 are interfitted an annular wall is provided which passes inside the annular sleeve 49 of the cap.
Each L-shaped section 54 has a portion 68 extending perpendicular to the section 54 with said portions 68 forming the tabs which are to be simultaneously and manually engaged when the toggle-type actuator is operated. The said L-shaped sections 54 each have an extension extending from the opposite face of the section 54, generally perpendicular to the section 54. One of said extensions designated by the numeral 69 is at right angles to the other extension designated by the numeral 70. Said extensions 69 and 70 are to engage and abut each other when the toggle-type actuator is actuated.
The central section 52 is integrally formed with a discharge nozzle generally designated by the numeral 72 which comprises a body 74 having a forwardly and horizontally projecting portion 75. The body 74 has a vertical bore or passageway 76 which communicates with the alined opening 78 in the central section 52. The vertical passageway 76 communicates with the passageway 79 in the horizontal portion and an annular shoulder 80 is formed in the vertical passageway 76 which seats on the valve stem 22. A separate tubular duct 82 frictionally fits and is retained within the horizontal portion 75. When the toggle actuator is within the cap the outer end of the duct 82 will extend toward the cap opening 44 so that the material in the aerosol container is discharged through said duct when the valve stem is depressed by the toggle-type actuator. The separate duct 82 may be eliminated if desired and the projecting portion 75 will serve to discharge the material toward and outwardly of the cap opening 44.
When the toggle-type actuator 26 is positioned inside the cap it is positioned as best shown in FIGS. 4, 5 and 7, in which the extensions 62 and 63 of the end sections 62 are positioned substantially vertically adjacent each other and interlocked, as aforesaid, to form the buttonlike member 61 which is positioned to extend within the annular wall or sleeve 49 of the cap but extends above the top 46 of the cap 24.
FIG. 4 shows the unit in inactive position, that is, the valve stem 22 of the aerosol container remains in its elevated position to close the aerosol container. Pressing the tabs 68 of the toggle-type actuator 26 inwardly will cause the hinging sections 54 and 53 to move inwardly relative to each other, however, the movement will not be sufficient to operate the depressible valve stem 22 of the aerosol unit since button 61 is not spring biased and is free to move upward in preference to the valve stem 22 moving downward. Also, when the top button 61 is solely depressed the hinging sections 54 and 53 will move or hinge outwardly and no movement will be imparted to the valve stem 22. It is only when there is a three point pressure simultaneously applied, such as shown in FIG. 5, namely, when the tabs 68 are manually pressed inwardly and the button 61 is pressed down simultaneously that the toggletype actuator is moved to the position shown in FIG. 5 wherein the inwardly facing extensions 69 and 70 abut each other and cause the sections 54 and 53 to assume the position shown to depress the valve stem 22 for the purpose of discharging some of the contents from the aerosol container, the contents being discharged laterally through the duct 82. Not until there is a three point pressure applied to the toggle-type actuator will the aerosol valve stem 22 operate to an open position. This makes it virtually impossible for a child to operate the aerosol unit and provides the safety factor. Simultaneous manual pressure against any two of the manual pressure points will not operate to open the aerosol valve as all three pressure points must be simultaneously operated. When the manual pressure is released the aerosol valve stem 22 will by the action of its spring return the valve stem 22 to the closed position and the parts will be restored to the position shown in FIG. 4.
When the aerosol container with the herein described unit is stacked with others either on a store shelf or packed in a shipping carton, the tabs 68 of adjacent units will not engage or affect the tabs of any other units and likewise the button 61 will be free of contact. Even a downward pressure solely on the button 61 will not cause operation of the valve stem 22.
The embodiment shown in FIGS. through 13 will now be described.
The conventional aerosol container and the valve stem thereof heretofore described will be indicated by the same numerals as heretofore and will not be redescribed. The unit of this embodiment likewise comprises essentially two main components, namely, a cap generally designated by the numeral 90 and a toggletype actuator generally designated by the numeral 92. Both the cap and toggle-type actuator are each integrally molded by injection molding and formed of a plastic material.
The cap 90 is shaped similarly to the cap 24 previously described and will be only briefly described herein. The cap 90 has a'hollow body or shell with the bottom or skirt portion thereof of annular shape and similar to that previously described to engage the aerosol container. The exterior surface of the cap 90 has a front recessed portion 94 similar to the front 42 of cap 24, two opposite planar sides 96 which are recessed similar to the sides 36 of cap 24, and has the arcuate shaped rear 98 cored out as at 97, all as previously described. It also has a top 99 and a top opening 100 and a front opening 102 similar to cap 24.
The principal difference between the cap 24 and the cap 90 is that cap 90 is provided on each of the opposite planar sides 96 with an integrally formed digital engageable flap 104 which is of generally rectangular shape and is connected at the bottom to the body of the cap and said bottom forms the hinge line 106 forsaid flap. The opposite sides 108 and the top 1 10 of said flap 104 are disconnected from the cap by a slight spacing, thus, the flaps 104 may be digitally engaged and manually pressed inwardly when they are to operate the toggle-type actuator 92, to be hereinafter described.
The toggle-type actuator used in this embodiment and generally designated by the numeral 92 is generally similar to that previously described and is integrally molded of a plastic material and comprises a central section 112 with an intermediate adjacent longer section 114 on each side of the central section and a short section 116 adjacent each of the intermediate sections and a short end section 118, with one of the end sections provided with an inverted L-shaped extension 120 and the other end section provided with an extension 122 which is adapted to interfit with the L-shaped extension and to be locked thereto with interengaging recesses and tits as previously described to form a digital operated button generally indicated at 124. Since the toggle-type actuator is generally similar to that previously described it will not be described in greater detail other than to specify that between each of the sections there is a hinge which is integrally formed with the actuator, the hinge being of less thickness than the material forming the sections, as previously described, and with the ends adjacent the sections being tapered.
The difference in the toggle-type actuator 92 from the actuator previously described is that the intermediate sections 114 are each provided with a short extension or tab 115 perpendicular to section 114 adjacent the hinge line of section 1 16. The outer end of the extension or tab 1 is tapered. The extension or tabs 1 15 are to be engaged by the side flaps 104 when the flaps are pressed inwardly, as best seen in FIG. ll.
The central section 112 is integrally formed with a discharge nozzle generally indicated at 126 and is slmilar to the discharge nozzle previously described. The
discharge nozzle 126 fits on the aerosol valve stem 22.
The discharge nozzle 126 dispenses the material through the front opening 102 of the cap.
When the toggle-type actuator 92 is positioned inside the cap it is normally in the position best shown in FIG. 10, with the side flaps 104 of the cap vertically positioned and substantially coplanar with the sides of the cap and out of engagement with the tabs 1 15 of the actuator. This is the inactive position and the aerosol valve, will remain closed. Applying digital pressure against the two side flaps 104 will cause them to engage the tabs on the actuator but will not cause the toggle-type actuator to move sufficiently downward to operate the aerosol valve since button 124 is not spring biased and is free to move upward in preference to the valve stem 22 moving downward. Also, if the top or button 124 of the actuator is depressed alone it will not be sufficient to open the aerosol valve since the toggle is free to bend outward. It is only when the side flaps 104 are simultaneously pressed inwardly and the top button 124 is pressed downwardly, all simultaneously, as shown in FIG. 11, that the toggle-type actuator will depress the aerosol valve stem to permit the aerosol container to discharge some of the material through the dispensing nozzle 126. When the digital pressure is released the aerosol valve will close to prevent discharge of the aerosol material.
The modification as herein described operates substantially like the device previously described, in the sense that there is a three point'digital contact at which manual pressure must be simultaneously applied to effectuate the discharge from the aerosol container. When manual pressure against the flaps is released they will return to their vertical position.
' In the embodiment shown in FIGS. 1 through 9, the pressure is applied by digital engagement with the tabs of the toggle-type actuator, whereas in the embodiment shown in FIGS. 10 through 13 the same action is produced by applying digital pressure against the flaps of the cap, which in turn impart a similar action to the toggle-type actuator.
What is claimed is:
1. Safety actuating means for actuating the valve stem of an aerosol container for dispensing the material within the aerosol container, said safety actuating means including a cap adapted to be mounted on the container and extend over the valve stem thereof, said cap having an outlet opening in the side thereof, a toggle-type actuator integrally formed of a plurality of sections hingedly and jointedly connected to form a continuous series of linked jointed sections which articulate with respect to each other at said jointed connections, with one of said sections being the first mentioned section and extending horizontally and positioned over the valve stem and cooperating with the valve stem, with another of said sections being the second mentioned section and extending upwardly of said first mentioned section and adapted to be pressed laterally inward, and another of said sections being the third mentioned section and extending upwardly of said second mentioned section and cooperating with the top of said cap and operable by a downward pressure so that when said toggle actuator is simultaneously actuated by a downward pressure and a lateral pressure, the first mentioned horizontal section will apply pressure to operate said valve stem to discharge the material in said container through the side of the cap.
2. The structure as set forth in claim 1 in which the first mentioned section has an integrally formed discharge nozzle.
3. The structure as set forth in claim 1 in which the toggle-type actuator includes another section being the fourth mentioned section which is hingedly jointed to said second mentioned section.
4. The structure as set forth in claim 3 in which the toggle-type actuator includes a pair of fourth mentioned sections hingedly jointed to said second mentioned sections.
5. The structure as set forth in claim 1 in which the cap is provided with a top opening and diametrically opposed sides and in which the first mentioned section of said toggle-type actuator is the central section and in which a pair of second mentioned sections extend upwardly of the first mentioned section with said pair of second mentioned sections adapted to be pressed laterally inward and in which the third mentioned section has means extending through the cap top opening whereby the toggle-type actuator is operated by three digital members applying simultaneous pressure against the second and third mentioned sections.
6. The structure as set forth in claim 5 in which the third mentioned section includes a pair of integrally formed members, which last mentioned members interfit to form a button-type digital depressible member which extends through the top opening in the cap.
7. The structure as set forth in claim 5 in which the second mentioned sections are provided with inwardly extending means which abut each other when said second mentioned sections are pressed inwardly for operating said valve stem.
8. The structure as set forth in claim 5 in which the first mentioned section is the central section and in which the third mentioned section comprises a pair of end sections with said end sections having button means extending through the opening in the cap for manual engagement.
9. The structure as set forth in claim 5 in which the toggle-type actuator is integrally formed of plastic material.
10. The structure as set forth in claim 5 in which each of the second mentioned sections is provided with an extension extending substantially perpendicular to the plane of said second sections and in which said extension are adapted to be pressed laterally inward to cause said second mentioned sections to be moved from an outwardly inclined position toward a more vertical position.
11. The structure as set forth in claim 10 in which the cap has an annular skirt portion adjacent the bottom thereof and is provided with recessed side portions which extend inwardly of the circumference of the bottom and wherein the extension of the second mentioned section is positioned inwardly of the bottom circumference of the cap to prevent accidental engagement of said extension.
12. The structure as set forth in claim 10 in which the cap has diametrically positioned side flaps which engage the extensions on said second mentioned sections at the opposite sides of the toggle-type actuator so that when the flaps are simultaneously pressed inwardly with the downward pressing of the top, said valve means will be operated to open position.
13. The structure as set forth in claim 10 in which the cap has diametrically opposed side openings and in which the extensions extend outwardly of the side openings of the cap for manual engagement.
UNITED STATES PATENT OFFICE CERTIFICATE OF CURRECTION Patent No. 3,760,988 Dated September 25, 1973 lfiv Efrem M. Os trowsky It is certified that error appears in the above-identified patent and that said Letters Patent are hereby corrected as shown below:
Column 8, line 13, "sion" should be --sions-- Signed and sealed this 12th day of February 1974.
EDWARD M. FLETCHER,JR.
Commissioner of Patents FORM PO-1050 (10-69) UscMM Dc e376 p69 v u. s. covsnnpnsm- PRINTING OFFICE l99 o-aus-au, b)
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