Patent application title: Key driven toothpaste dispenser and brush caddy
Horatio John Baca (New Harmony, UT, US)
IPC8 Class: AB65D3534FI
Class name: With wall-collapsing means winding type with casing or support
Publication date: 2009-12-31
Patent application number: 20090321477
A combination toothbrush holder and toothpaste dispenser having an oblong
container with an opening in the front wall thereof for holding a tube of
toothpaste within the container with the cap end of the toothpaste tube
protruding from a front wall of said container; a pair of longitudinal
track openings respectively on the front and rear sides of said oblong
container receive a slotted key, which key is inserted into and rides in
said track openings after a slot in said key has been wound upon the
crimped end of a toothpaste tube for user-controlled dispensing of
toothpaste from the tube.
1. An improved toothpaste dispenser, comprising:an oblong container having
an opening in the front wall thereof for holding a tube of toothpaste
within the container with the cap end of the toothpaste tube protruding
from a front wall of said container while the front end of said tube is
shouldered against the inside front end of said container;a pair of
longitudinal track openings respectively on the front and rear sides of
said oblong container for receiving a slotted key which key is inserted
into and rides in said track openings after a slot in said key has been
wound upon the crimped end of a toothpaste tube; andsaid key is turned by
a user and said key travels down said tracks as the key is wound on the
crimped end of the tube, which tube winds upon itself and rolls up within
the container in order to dispense controlled quantities of toothpaste
out the front of the tube while the tube is held within the inner area of
2. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the container further comprises:a toothbrush holder rack for holding toothbrushes in an upright manner with natural air drying spaces allowing air to dry said toothbrushes after using.
3. An improved toothpaste dispenser, comprising:a container having an opening in the front wall thereof for holding a tube of toothpaste within the container with the cap end of the toothpaste tube protruding from a front wall of said container;track slots respectively on the front and rear sides of said container for receiving a slotted key which rides in said track openings;a slot in said key allowing the crimped end of a toothpaste tube to be turned back upon itself as the key is wound around the tube to dispense quantities of toothpaste from the tube.
4. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the container rests upon a base unit and also resting on said base unit and further comprising:a toothbrush holder rack for holding toothbrushes in an upright manner; andsaid rack provided with natural air drying spaces allowing air to dry said toothbrushes after such brushes have been used.
5. The apparatus of claim 4 wherein said base unit and further comprises:a simple pull out and push in drawer for storing incidental tooth care supplies.
6. An improved toothpaste dispenser with an oblong container having an opening in a wall thereof for holding a tube of toothpaste with the cap end of the toothpaste tube protruding from a wall of said container while the front end of said tube is shouldered against the inside front end of said container; said dispenser comprising:longitudinal track openings on said oblong container for receiving a slotted key which rides in said track openings as said key is wound upon the crimped end of a toothpaste tube; andsaid key travels along said tracks and winds the tube upon itself in order to dispense controlled quantities of toothpaste from said tube.
7. The apparatus of claim 6 wherein the container further comprises:a slot in said key sized to allow the crimped end of a toothpaste tube to be inserted therein and be turned back upon itself as the key is wound around the tube.
8. The apparatus of claim 5 wherein the dispenser further comprises:a toothbrush holder rack affixed to said container for holding toothbrushes in an upright manner; andsaid rack provided with natural air drying spaces allowing air to dry said toothbrushes after such brushes have been used.
9. The apparatus of claim 5 wherein the dispenser further comprises:a locking means on the key for retaining same in the tracks to prevent loss or accidental removal of said key.
10. An improved tube dispenser for toothpaste or the like, comprising:an oblong container having an opening in the front wall thereof for holding a tube within the container with the cap end of the tube protruding from a front wall of said container while the front end of said tube is shouldered against the inside front end of said container;a pair of longitudinal track openings respectively on the front and rear sides of said oblong container for receiving a slotted key which key is inserted into and rides in said track openings after a slot in said key has been wound upon the crimped end of a tube;said key includes a turning projection allowing a user to turn said key as it travels along said tracks while the key grips the crimped end of the tube, which tube winds upon itself and rolls up within the container in order to dispense controlled quantities of product out the front of the tube while the tube is held within the inner area of said container;a slot in said key sized to allow the crimped end of a tube to be inserted therein and be turned back upon itself as the key is wound around the tube;a holding rack affixed to said container for holding tube-related implements; anda locking means on the key for retaining same in the tracks to prevent loss or accidental removal of said key.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
This invention is made by a sole inventor without any sponsorship of government funds.
PREVIOUS FILING INFORMATION
This is an original filing of a regular utility patent application. The contents and filing date of Provisional Application No. 61/130,409 filed on Jun. 16, 2008 by the same inventor hereof, and having confirmation No. 3304, is noted. Priority of that Provisional Application is claimed and the contents and benefits thereof are incorporated herein by reference as though that Provisional Application were set forth in full at this point.
Field of the Invention
The field of the invention relates generally to a new and improved tube content dispenser system, and more particularly to a bathroom accessory for caring for ones teeth. Bathroom accessories today are the "in" thing. Daily brushing of our teeth is very important, but the inconvenience of finding the toothbrush, toothpaste tube (with or without cap) brushing our teeth and then putting everything back in the drawer can become an ordeal--especially during the early morning waking up ritual. If an attractive and functional container and brush holder were available with everything handy and readily accessible it would be a major step forward in this daily chore. Moreover, the convenience of not having to dig through things in a bathroom drawer for our tooth care supplies would be a welcome change.
We have all experienced the frustration of the toothpaste tube becoming nearly empty, and we then face the necessity of trying to flatten or press the almost empty tube against the counter in an effort to squeeze the last dollop of toothpaste out unto our brush. But how to do so while holding the brush, and at the same time manipulating the toothpaste tube, is a challenge. We simply don't have enough hands or patience for this seemingly simple task.
It is known in the bathroom accessory field to hang a toothbrush holder on the wall so that the toothbrush is handy, exposed to the air and will dry naturally after use. But such hangers do not have a ready made place for the toothpaste tube so the tube is normally relegated to the drawer and the drawbacks appear once again. Or perhaps, the tube is held in a glass or cup setting on a wall hanger apparatus. Other toothpaste dispensers have been known to hang on the wall, but such devices are generally speaking ineffective and do not collect everything in one handy location. Again these and similar prior art approaches are both unsightly and present troublesome drawbacks in this field.
All of these factors bring the health of the user into play. The 21st century may well become known as the age of the germaphobe, so it is no surprise that toothbrush accessories and sanitizers are vital health care products for today's society. What we put in our mouth daily should realistically cause us concern.
Studies indicate that toothbrushes often harbor bacteria that may be of concern to our overall health. We must avoid cross-contamination and try to keep our toothbrushes stored in a way that keeps everyone's toothbrush heads separate and apart from the toothbrush heads of others in the family. Preferably the toothbrushes should be stored in an upright position and be separated enough for them to air dry naturally.
In short summary, what is needed is a better way. And, a new improvement for bathroom accessories and, particularly, the handling of toothpaste, brushes and associated teeth care is provided. This tooth care system meets many of the above-mentioned goals and does so in a compact and health improving manner. The invention provides both a method and an apparatus of improved design and novel structural components as well.
This invention teaches a key driven toothpaste container which simplifies and enhances the brushing process in a compact, organized manner. The new toothbrush system itself--together with the method steps of its use--provides non obvious features well advanced over the known prior art.
Explanation of Terms
Set out below are brief descriptions of certain relevant terms which further the understanding of the invention. These terms provide a basis for a detailed teaching of the improvements of this invention in the relevant arts. Such terms are not intended to replace the claims but rather serve as helpful guides in understanding my novel improvements in these arts.
Key Driven Channels
A tube container in the shape of a rigid rectangular box has a pair of aligned elongated slots located at about the middle of the front and back sides of the container. Inserted in the slots, and free to turn and slide therein, is an elongated key which is locked in place in the channels by a locking cap affixed at the rearward end of the key. This key has a slot in the middle, which slot is sized to receive the crimped end of a standard tube such as any commercial toothpaste tube. At its exposed forward end, the key has a pair of ears that allow the consumer to turn the key, and thus wind the crimped end of the tube around the key. Such turning causes the tube to wind around itself while the tube remains position fixed "hands free" in the rectangular container.
Toothpaste Dispensing Opening
The forward and capped end of the tube is inserted into a forward facing opening located at a forward wall of the container. This opening allows the capped end of the tube to protrude out of the front end of the container while the entire toothpaste tube per se remains secured in the container. The protruding cap is readily available for the consumer to remove for loading his toothbrush in a simple and convenient manner. During use the consumer simply winds the key a twist or so in order to deliver a dollop of paste on the toothbrush being loaded. The brush is never contaminated nor does it come into contact with the tube opening itself.
Upright Toothbrush Rack and Drawer
A toothbrush rack having a series of upward facing holes at the top of a toothbrush stand is connected at the rear of the container. This stand serves to hold several of the consumer's toothbrushes in an upright position with the toothbrush heads separated from each other and exposed in the air in order to allow them to dry naturally in this exposed condition. The handle ends of these toothbrushes rest on a flat base plate that is also exposed to the air such that any water or moisture from the brushes can drain and dry out easily and naturally. Associated with the base stand is am accessory drawer in the base unit.
Background--Description of Prior Art
The prior art consists of many separate items of various configurations that are stored primarily in drawers in bathroom cabinets. One digs in the drawers for both the toothbrush and the toothpaste as the daily brushing task begins. While some brushing items may be wall mounted, most are not. Those that are wall mounted are primarily individual parts and pieces of an overall brushing system. Thus, a cup or mug may be mounted on the wall for storage of our brushes after use. This isolated item approach just contributes to the separation and inconvenience of the various items we need for our tooth care system.
Slotted keys have been used for winding many surfaces such as sardine tins and the like. Such prior art, however, does not allow for guide tracks on the side of a tube container, nor does it allow for product containment with an exposed tube dispensing end provided in the tube container as does the invention.
What is necessary--and has not yet been provided prior to the advent of this invention--is a fully equipped system for daily teeth care that is self contained and is compact with all of the supplies in one easy to reach location. Ideally, the system will leave our hands free to do our brushing in a convenient and simple manner.
This invention fills a long sought for need. Moreover, the invention is a unitary toothbrush and toothpaste caddy that offers convenience and practicality. The new caddy and the other novel improvements of this invention provide non obvious features that are well advanced over all of the known prior art.
FIG. 1 includes an exploded view of all of the primary components of the dispenser of this invention;
FIG. 2 is a top view taken from above and showing the cap end of a tube of toothpaste protruding from the front end of the dispenser;
FIG. 3 is an end view of the front end of the dispenser of my invention;
FIG. 4 includes two views of the key of my dispenser invention together with an enlarged view of the key lock that holds the key in position in my invention;
FIG. 5 is a rear view depicting the end of the key lock cap and showing a tube of toothpaste contained in my dispenser; and
FIG. 6 is a rear perspective view looking down on the toothbrush stand of my invention.
SUMMARY OF SEVERAL ADVANTAGES OF THE INVENTION
Self contained tooth care caddy. Simplified and easy to load and dispense tooth paste. A key driven tooth paste dispensing operation that frees the hands for easy loading of tooth paste unto the tooth brush of the user. Tooth paste, toothbrushes and dental care needs all supplied in one convenient location that avoids digging around in cabinet drawers for tooth care supplies. A base has depth as well as an upper mounting surface. The depth includes a pull out drawer for storing dental floss and other tooth care needs.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
An improved method and apparatus for a toothbrush holder and toothpaste dispenser having an oblong container with an opening in the front thereof for holding a tube of toothpaste with the cap end of the toothpaste tube protruding from the front end of said container while the front of said tooth paste tube is shouldered against the inside front end of the container. A pair of aligned slots form key slide openings on the front and rear sides of said oblong container for receiving a slotted key which key is inserted into and locked in place so as to ride in said slotted tracks as the key is wound upon the crimped end of a toothpaste tube. Said key is turned by a user and travels along said slotted tracks as the key is wound on the crimped end of the tube, which tube is key wound upon the tube itself and both rolls up within the container in order to dispense limited quantities of product out the front of the contained tube.
The method and apparatus of the container further comprises a toothbrush rack for holding toothbrushes in an upright manner with natural air drying for the heads and handles of the toothbrushes.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
The invention will be described by reference to the several views hereof. Please see FIGS. 1 through 6 of my drawing. FIG. 1, in particular, is an exploded view of my dispenser invention, and shows the major components separated for ease of viewing and understanding. FIG. 3 is an end view and shows the relative assembled location of the primary components of my invention.
As shown in FIG. 1, the toothpaste dispenser 150 includes a tube container 100 as shown in various views of the drawing. Base unit 60 is selected with a width sufficient to support and hold tube container 100 and a toothbrush rack 175. Base unit 60 is deep enough to support a simple push in pull out drawer 40. Drawer 40 is useful for storing dental floss and similar tooth care implements.
Lid 45 rests on the top of container 100. With the opening 104 positioned to the right end on container 100, the key 50 is turned by the left hand. With container 100 turned around then the opening 104 is on the left end and the key 50 is turned by the right hand. Simply reversing the direction of the container 100 determines either a right or left handed operation. Posts and clips 90, or any other suitable such devices known in the art, add rigidity and provide a means for fastening the various pieces of base unit 60 together.
Rack 175 has tab protrusions 179 that mate and snap into mating openings 178 in the rear panel of container 100. (Obviously such mating openings 178 may also be on the front panel of container 100 for the reverse hand operation.) FIG. 1 also shows such protrusions 179 as they would be inserted into and snapped and mated into openings 178 on the rear panel of container 100. FIG. 5 shows tube 101 in place within container 100 (but the openings 178 for receiving protrusion tabs 179) are hidden from sight by the front panel of container 112.
Crimped end 103 of toothpaste tube 101 has been inserted into a slot 56 of key 50 of FIG. 4 and is in position in FIG. 5 to be wound upon itself as a user turns key 50, FIG. 4, during use of my dispenser 150.
In accordance with my invention, the elongated container 100 (which may take any one of several shapes) is chosen with enough width, length and depth to hold a full tube of toothpaste 101 as purchased, say, at the local pharmacy. Such a tube of toothpaste 101 would be seated in the container 100 with the cap end 105 of tube 101 pressed against the inside front wall of the container 100.
The inside front wall of the container 100, if so desired, may generally conform to the front cone shape of an ordinary toothpaste tube 101 or simply may be a flat surface. In any event, however, the inside of the front wall of container 100 makes both a seat and a stop for tube 101 partially shown contained in place in FIG. 5.
A frontal opening 104 allows the user to insert the cap end 105 of the tube 101 into the container 100 with the shoulder of the tube stopped against the inner side of the front wall 112 of container 100. The capped end of tube 101 extends beyond the outside surface of the front wall 112 of container 100 as is perhaps best shown, for example, in FIG. 5.
About the midpoint of the front and back sides of the container 100, FIG. 1, I have placed two parallel tracks 115 which receive the key 50 and allow that key 50 to slip into the tracks 115 and span across container 100 with the back protrusion of the key stem extending out through the rear slot 115. A securing cap 55 (FIGS. 1, 4 and 5) locks the key 50 in place across tracks 115 and allows the key 50 to both freely turn and to slide left and right in tracks 115.
The rearward protrusion and lock 55 on key 50 prevents inadvertent removal of key 50 and prevents any chance of accidental loss of key 50 during use. The key 50, as shown best in FIG. 4, has an open slot 56 chosen with a width and thickness to accommodate the crimped end 103, FIG. 1, of the toothpaste tube 101 of FIG. 1. That slot 56 allows the key 50 to wind up onto the tube 101 itself as the user dispenses toothpaste with my invention.
Lock cap 55 is shown in more detail in FIG. 4, and this cap 55 includes a pair of internal protrusion lugs 57 that lock into a matching pair of detents 58 on the remote end of stem 49 of key 50. At the near end of key 50 a pair of turning ears 59 are rigidly secured to stem 49 of key 56 to allow easy winding of key 50 around a tube of toothpaste 101, FIG. 1.
I have found that toothpaste dispenses easily and smoothly from the front end of the tube 101, and does so without any mess or loss of toothpaste. The entire unit 150 may sit out in the open or it may be wall mounted at a location conveniently near a bathroom sink. The unit 150 may also sit on a bathroom counter, and is an attractive and useful addition to ones bathroom accessories. Moreover, I have discovered that as I wind the key 50 for my dispensing action, a very measured amount of toothpaste issues from the tube 101 and does so free of mess or lost motion.
Indeed, everything needed for tooth care is clearly presented in a compact form all together in a single unit in my invention 150. Note, for example, in FIGS. 1, 5 and 6 that I have provided a toothbrush rack 175 that is fastened along the back side of container 100. This toothbrush holder 175 is adapted to receive a number of individual toothbrushes (not shown but understood) for my family members.
Please note that we no longer have to dig through a bathroom drawer for our teeth care supplies. My entire unit 150 can easily be fabricated from various types of material such as plastic or stainless or a coated material. It is an attractive unit that serves a long felt need that has not yet been met by wall mounted units. However, if the user so desires my unit is lightweight and it may be mounted to the wall if that seems to the user to best fit his/her particular bathroom decor.
Toothbrush rack 175 of FIG. 6 may include two parallel spaced rows of openings 170 in rack pieces 174 to hold any standard toothbrushes in an upright position. Additionally, the size of the openings 170, FIG. 6, may be enlarged as necessary to accommodate electrical toothbrushes with oversized handles. The ends of the racked toothbrushes rest on a spaced floor 171 which extends rearward from a vertical support plane 180, FIG. 6. Located below floor 174 is a track opening 116 which is aligned with the rear track opening 115. Track opening 116 allows the key lock 55 to ride along as key 50 is being turned by the user.
All primary pieces required for manufacturing my unit may readily be supplied by local suppliers and need not increase the cost or complexity of my invention. I have found that some regulations require an air drying of the toothbrushes, and so in my container I have left air circulation spaces between the racks 174 of FIG. 6.
As an alternative to the racks 174 of my FIG. 6 hereof, I elected to place some drying arches 25 (See FIGS. 4 and 5 of my incorporated Provisional Application) in toothbrush rack 175. Those arches 25 communicate with the bases of the toothbrush holder section and allow any accumulated water to drip from the brushes after use. Both such configurations promote easy and natural drying of the brushes. The toothbrushes may easily be stored in various places in my rack 175 which may be located on the sides, top, or behind container 100 of my invention. The location shown in the drawings hereof is suggestive only and should not be taken as limiting in nature.
I have also found that the dispensed toothpaste readily flows unto the individual bristles of the various brushes and those bristles need not ever touch the tip of the tube itself. The tube cap can be removed and replaced with ease. One hand simply holds the toothbrush under the cap end of the tube 101 and by a simple twist of the key 50 in tracks 115, the toothpaste is easy and readily dispensed.
The American Dental Academy (ADA) has recommended the following when it comes to having a germ free toothbrush. Do not share toothbrushes. Completely rinse the brush to remove toothpaste and debris before storing. Do not store the brushes in an airtight container, like a travel case. Replace brushes every three months and after any illness. Store toothbrushes in an upright position, where surrounding air can dry them naturally.
My invention is sanitary, safe, simple to use and promotes the recommendations by the ADA. Additionally, consumers no longer have to dig through the bathroom counter drawers looking for their tooth care supplies.
What has been depicted and described in a new method and apparatus for a novel bathroom accessory. The invention is safe and easy to use and promotes healthy care for our mouth, gums and teeth. The invention provides many non obvious features and advantages over the prior art described above.
Many novel features and advantages of this invention will readily be apparent to others from this presentation. This inventor is thus supplementing his Provisional Application with this Regular Utility Application within the time frames set by the Patent laws. My Claims are set forth below.
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