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TOOTHBRUSH STORAGE CASE AND BATTERY CHARGER Hans Springer, Ashland, Mass., assignor to General Electric Company, a corporation of New York Filed May 31,1962, Ser. No. 198,884 6 Claims. (CI. 320—2)
This invention relates to a storage ease and battery charging arrangement for a battery powered toothbrush.
In a copending application of Edgar A. Phaneuf and Hans Springer, Serial No. 198,883, filed May 31, 1962, and assigned to the same assignee as the present invention, there is disclosed an electric toothbrush including a motorized handle powered by a rechargeable battery contained in the handle. It is necessary that a device be provided to recharge the battery in the power handle, and it is desirable that the power handle and brushes driven thereby be stored in a convenient and sanitary manner.
Accordingly, it is a primary object of the invention to provide a compact and sanitary case for conveniently storing and recharging a battery powered toothbrush handle.
It is a further object of the invention to provide such a case with a unique arrangement for storing the toothbrushes to be driven by the handle while the brushes are not in use and for storing the power cord which is used to connect the charging mechanism to an electrical outlet.
Briefly stated, this invention in one form includes a housing or case having a plurality of walls and a socket formed in one of the walls for receiving a motorized toothbrush handle containing a rechargeable battery. A battery charging device is located within the case, and suitable means are provided for connecting the battery charging device to contacts which are uniquely positioned in the socket. The contacts in the socket are placed so that when the motorized handle is inserted in the socket they engage complementary contacts which are uniquely located on the outside surface of the motorized toothbrush handle. A power cord extends through the wall of the housing and connects the battery charging device to a conventional power outlet.
Further objects and attendant advantages will become apparent with reference to the following drawings in which:
FIG. 1 is an elevational view, partially in section, of the storage case and battery recharger of the invention with a power toothbrush handle and brush member shown positioned therein;
FIG. 2 is a side elevational view of the battery charger and storage case of the invention;
FIG. 3 is a plan view of the case of FIG. 2;
FIG. 4 is a bottom view of the case of FIG. 2;
FIG. 5 is a sectional elevational along the lines 5—5 of FIG. 3;
FIG. 6 is a bottom view of the storage case with the bottom plate removed;
FIG. 7 is a section elevational taken along the lines 7—7 of FIG. 4;
FIG. 8 is a sectional elevation along the lines 8—8 of FIG. 4; and
FIG. 9 is a schematic view of the charging circuit of the invention.
Referring first to FIG. 1, the storage case and battery charger of the invention may be seen as including a housing or case 10 having a socket 12 adapted to receive one end of a motorized toothbrush handle 14. Motive means positioned within the handle 14 includes a small electric motor (not shown) having a pair of terminal contacts which are accessible from the exterior of the handle. These are contact ring 16 surrounding the mid-section of
the handle, and contact button 18 positioned within a recessed portion of lower end of handle 14, as viewed in FIG. 1. In accordance with the invention, the handle storage case and battery charger is provided with a charg
5 ing terminal 20, which contacts battery terminals 16 when the handle is fully within the socket 12, and is further provided with a charging terminal 22 which engages battery terminal 18 when the handle is fully inserted within the socket. Charging contacts 20 and 22 are connected
10 to a battery charging means 23 via conducting wires 24 and 26 respectively.
The upper end of the power handle 14, as viewed in FIG. 1, includes a plunger or toothbrush holding member 28 which is axially reciprocated within the handle by
15 the motive means. The holding member 28 includes a socket (not shown) adapted to receive the lower end of toothbrush shank 30 shown positioned within a socket 32 formed in housing 10. Thus it will be seen that in accordance with the invention toothbrush 30 may be convenient
20 ly stored within the socket 32 while the handle 14 is also being stored and simultaneously its battery is being recharged. For a more detailed explanation of the construction and operation of power handle 14 and toothbrush 30 reference may be made to the aforementioned co-pending
25 application to Hans Springer and Edgar A. Phaneuf. A more detailed description of the battery charger and storage case of the invention will be given in the following paragraphs.
Referring to FIGS. 2, 3 and 4, the storage case 10 may 30 be seen as having a tubular side wall 36 with an oval or elliptical shape, a top wall 38 and a bottom wall 40. The housing 10 may be made of the material desired and in any suitable manner; however, it is preferably molded from plastic or similar material so that it is relatively 35 lightweight, completely washable and easy to clean, a good electrical insulator, and relatively inexpensive.
The socket 12 formed within the top wall 38 has a continuous side wall which has primarily a circular cross^ section to mate with the cylindrical or slightly tapered 40 toothbrush power handle 14. The socket side wall is formed with a plurality of flat surfaces 42, as seen in FIGS. 3 and 5, to provide firm support for the handle 14 with a minimum of surface contact between the handle and the socket wall. This construction provides for air 45 circulation and reduces frictional resistance to facilitate insertion and withdrawal of the handle 14 from the socket 12, while still maintaining firm support to facilitate good electrical contact between contact ring 16 and terminal 20, as seen in FIG. 1. To further insure good electrical 5° contact, terminal 20 positioned in the side wall of socket 12 may be formed as a stamped metal member and folded to form a curved contacting surface which is flexibly biased toward contact ring 16. Similarly, charging terminal 22 positioned in the bottom wall 44 of socket 12 is formed such that the contact is flexibly urged into engagement with battery contact button 18.
It should be appreciated that contact ring 16 extends completely around the toothbrush handle 14, and contact button 18 is specifically centrally located at the bottom 60 end of handle 14. With this arrangement, it is merely necessary to insert the toothbrush handle within the socket in any position in order to have contact ring 16 and contact button 18 move into engagement with contacts 20 and 22, respectively. Furthermore, with this constructs tion the motorized toothbrush handle may be rotated while it is positioned in the socket to cause contact surfaces 16 and 18 to slide on contact surfaces 20 and 22, respectively, thereby wiping the contact surfaces clean and insuring positive electrical contact. 70 It is contemplated that the motorized toothbrush handle 14 will be used by several different individuals, such as an entire family, since the toothbrushes such as brush 34