Title:
Tampon applicator
United States Patent 2413480


Abstract:
This invention relates to a tampon applicator. A tampon, as is well known, is inserted in the vagina for the purpose of absorbing menstrual fluids. In general, the tampon is mounted in the forward end of an applicator tube, the tampon being adapted to be ejected from the tube by suitable means,...



Inventors:
Winter, Marguerite B.
Application Number:
US52996644A
Publication Date:
12/31/1946
Filing Date:
04/07/1944
Assignee:
SANITARY TAMPON CORP
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A61F13/26
View Patent Images:



Description:

This invention relates to a tampon applicator.

A tampon, as is well known, is inserted in the vagina for the purpose of absorbing menstrual fluids. In general, the tampon is mounted in the forward end of an applicator tube, the tampon being adapted to be ejected from the tube by suitable means, such as a plunger or the like.

The combination of the tampon and the applicator is herein termed a "tampon applicator." When a tampon is inserted into the vagina, the forward end of the tampon within the tube contacts the mucus membranes of the vagina at and adjacent the vagina entrance. Due to the absorption characteristics of the tampon, upon contact of the latter with the mucus membranes, the end of the tampon exhibits a substantial tendency to absorb fluid or moisture. The end of the tube applicator exhibits a relatively sharp edge likely to scrape moisture from the mucus membranes. However, it is highly desirable that little or no moisture be removed from the mucus membranes during the insertion of the tampon and its container, as to do so would cause dryness, with accompanying friction and discomfort.

In accordance with the present invention, this is accomplished by providing a thin, flexible closure for the forward end of the tampon, said closure member being preferably fixed on the exterior wall of the applicator tube, said closure befng adapted to be broken, ruptured or unfolded when the tampon is ejected from its applicator tube.

It is an object of the present invention to prevent absorption or displacement of the moisture and fluids by the forward end of the tampon during the period it is being inserted into the vagina and prior to the time the tampon is ejected from its applicator.

It is an additional object of the invention to protect the walls of the vagina from possible abrasive action of the forward edges of the tubular applicator, which is usually made of relatively stiff paper.

It is a further object of the present invention to provide a tampon applicator in which the tampon is provided with a closure member which is sufficiently liquid-roof to resist the passage therethrough of vaginal fluids and the absorption of said fluids by the forward end of the tampon upon its insertion into the vagina prior to the ejection of the tampon from its container.

It is a further object of the present invention to provide a closure member which in itself is moisture-resistant to the extent herein set forth, or which is made moisture-resistant by coating and/or impregnation.

A further object of the present invention is to provide a closure member made of cellulose ethers selected from the group consisting of aliphatic and aromatic ethers, said closure members being characterized by exceedingly high thermoplasticity, formulation flexibility, and resistance to alkalis and dilute acids.

A further object of the present invention is to provide a closure member composed of an end portion which is in the form of pleats to thereby provide for the simple and efficient rupturing of the end portion of the closure member.

Another object of the present invention is to provide a closure member with a flange extending the entire length of the tampon container and provided at its rear end with an in-turned flange functioning to fix the closure member in position and to cover the rear edge of the tampon container to thereby prevent the possibility of said rear raw edge contacting mucus membranes of the vagina and causing discomfort.

Other objects will appear from the following disclosure.In order that the invention may be clearly understood, reference will be made to the accompanying drawing, wherein Figure 1 is a perspective view of a tampon ap80 plicator made in accordance with the present invention; Figure 2 is a longitudinal cross section of the tampon of Figure 1; Figure 3 is a longitudinal cross section of the tampon of Figure 1, after the tampon seal has been ruptured and the parts are in a changed position; Figure 4 is a cross sectional view of a modified form of the invention, and Figure 5 is a cross sectional view of a further modified form of the invention.

The device shown in Figure 1 comprises a tubular applicator member I, in which there is mounted a tampon 2 provided with a withdrawal member 3. Telescopically mounted within the bore of the tube I is an ejector plunger 4, the forward end edge 5 of which abuts adjacent the rear end 6 of the tampon 2, the withdrawal member 3 passing through the bore of the hollow plunger 4. Positioned on the forward end of the applicator tube I is a closure member identified as an entity by the figure 7, said closure having a flange 8 which is adhesively held on the forward end 9 of the applicator tube I. The 65 closure 7 is provided with an end member 10 which covers the forward end I of the tampon.

When the applicator I is inserted in the vagina, it travels therethrough for a certain distance, and the forward end II of the tampon 2 is covered by the end closure 10 and is thereby prevented from absorbing liquids present in the vagina. Since these natural fluids have not been scraped from the vagina and/or absorbed by the tampon during the period of insertion, said fluids act as a lubricant and facilitate the comfortable passage of the applicator tube to a predetermined position with the vagina. When the major portion of the tube has been inserted in the vagina, the ejector 4 is manipulated to cause the tampon 2 to be ejected from the applicator tube I into its proper position.

The applicator tube I, while usually made of paper, and is generally self-supporting, may be made of other materials which are flexible. It is to be noted that the forward end edge of the applicator tube I is protected by the closure member 7 and functions to prevent the forward end from exerting abrasive action upon the walls of the vagina.

It is to be noted that in the preferred form of the invention, the end member 10 of the closure 7 is composed of a series of radiating pleats I2, the apices 13 of which terminate at or closely adjacent the center of the forward end portion of the tampon 1. The closure 7 may be made of a thin, flexible material or membrane which resists rapid absorption of the vaginal fluids during the period of insertion of the applicator into the vagina. What is desirable is that the closure member be sufficiently moisture-proof or liquidproof to resist the passage of vaginal liquids or fluids through the closure member and to the forward end of the tampon, until the rear end of the applicator tube approaches the entrance to the vagina, this normally being from 1 to 3 or seconds, but usually not exceeding 3 seconds. The point which it is desired to emphasize is that the closure member must be resistant to absorption of the vaginal fluids only for a relatively short period of time, that is, the time it takes to insert the applicator tube in the vagina. After that, the absorption characteristics of the closure member are immaterial since the applicator is withdrawn from the vagina and discarded.

The closure member may be made of a thin, soft, flexible material, as, for example, thin, soft, flexible paper, said paper having been provided with a coating or impregnation which inhibits any substantial absorption by the paper or other cellulosic material of the vaginal fluids. For example, the paper closure member may carry a coating and/or impregnation of an oil or wax.

The closure member may be formed of paper or similar soft, cellulosic material which has been dipped in a bath of molten paraffin, plasticized preferably with about 10% to 15% of vegetable or animal oil.

Instead of using paper, the closure member may be a cellulose ether seelcted from the group of aliphatic and aromatic ethers, and particularly the lower alkyl aliphatic cellulose ethers, including aliphatic radicals through the propyl radical.

A closure member in which ethyl cellulose is the essential base constituent is especially suitable for use in accordance with the present invention, since such a closure member is characterized by an exceedingly high degree of thermoplasticity, great flexibility, inertness to alkalis of all strengths and to dilute acids. The ethyl cellulose also offers the advantage that it may be easily wetted with a solvent to form an adhesive capable of uniting itself to the tampon container, which is usually made of rather stiff cardboard or similar material, although the present invention is not limited to any particular kind of tampon container. Instead of using ethyl cellulose, the closure member may be made of methyl cellulose, but this is not quite as desirable a medium as ethyl cellulose. The closure member may also be made of flexible, highly plasticized cellulose acetate, formate, and similar lower alkyl cellulose esters.

The closure member may be united to the forward end of the applicator tube by any suitable adhesive such as gun arabic, casein glue or any of the synthetic resin adhesives.

Instead of forming the closure member of paper which has been suitably impregnated to make it soft and flexible, the closure member may be formed of thin sheets of plasticized plastics, as, for example, vinylidene chloride or methyl methacrylate.

The closure member may also be made of rubber hydrochloride, as, for example, Pliofilm, Any of the Vinylite resins may be used. For example, there may be used a closure comprising a copolymer of vinyl acetate and vinyl chloride; polyvinyl acetate; or polyvinyl chloride. When using the polyvinyl acetate, the adhesive for bonding the polyvinyl acetate to the applicator may desirably be polyvinyl acetate in solution or modified in methyl acetate, or polyvinyl acetate in solution or modified in toluol.

In the form of the invention shown in Figure 4, the tampon 14 projects a substantial amount beyond the forward end of the applicator tube 15.

Mounted on the forward end 16 of the applicator tube 15 is a closure member 17 which may be made of any of the materials above set forth. In the form of the invention shown in Figure 5, the closure member 18 is provided with an elongated flange 19 covering substantially the entire length of the outer surface 20 of the applicator tube 21. The flange member 19 is provided with an in-turned end 22 having an in-turned flange 23 engaging the inner surface 24 of the applicator 21 at and adjacent the rear end 25 of the applicator.

The flange 19 is adhesively united to the exterior surface 20 of the applicator by any suitable adhesive medium. The in-turned flange 23 is not adhesively united to the interior surface 24 of the applicator tube. In the structure shown, the in-turned end member 22 acts to prevent the exposure of the rear end edge of the applicator to the mucus membranes of the vagina. Further, the flange 23 acts as a friction member between the interior surface 24 and the exterior surface 26 of the plunger 27 and inhibits any tendency of the plunger 27 to drop out of the applicator tube upon the entire device being handled. The in-turned end 22 also functions to lock the closure member in position, if the adhesive medium should fail to keep the flange 19 of the closure Ga member 18 adherently united to the outer surface 20 of the tube 21.

While, in that form of the invention shown in Figures 1 and 2, the tampon is shown projecting slightly from the tampon container due to the rounded forward end of the tampon, it is desired to point out that the forward end of the tampon may be flush with the forward end of the tampon container, and that the principles of the present invention also apply when the forward end of the I T tampon is flush with the forward end of the tampon container, the basic principle herein set forth being that a relatively thin, flexible closure member covers the forward end of the tampon, irrespective of whether the tampon is flush with the tampon container or projects therefrom, said closure member being sufficiently liquid-proof or moisture-proof to resist the passage therethrough of vaginal fluids and the absorption of said fluids by the forward end of the container upon its insertion into the vagina and prior to the ejection of the tampon from its container.

What is claimed is: 1. In a tampon applicator, a tubular tampon container, a tampon therein provided with a withdrawal member, a thin flexible closure member comprising an end portion covering the forward end of the tampon and a tubular sleeve member extending from said forward end for the length of the container and fixed thereto, said sleeve being provided adjacent the rear end of the tampon container with an in-turned flange covering the rear end of the container and preventing said edge from contacting the mucus membranes of the vagina, said in-turned flange functioning to fix the closure member in position, said flexible end closure portion being sufficiently liquid-proof to resist the passage therethrough of vaginal fluids and the absorption of said fluids by the forward end of the tampon upon its insertion into the vagina and prior to the ejection of the tampon from its container, and means to break the closure member and eject the tampon from its container after the insertion of the latter into the vagina.

2. In a tampon applicator, a tubular tampon container, a tampon therein provided with a withdrawal member, a thin flexible paper closure member comprising an end portion covering the forward end of the tampon and a tubular sleeve member extending from said forward end for the length of the container and fixed thereto, said sleeve being provided adjacent the rear end of the tampon container with an in-turned flange covering the rear end of the container and preventing said edge from contacting the mucus membranes of the vagina, said in-turned flange functioning to fix the closure member in position, said flexible end closure portion being sufficiently liquid-proof to resist the passage therethrough of vaginal fluids and the absorption of said fluids by the forward end of the tampon upon its insertion into the vagina and prior to the ejection of the tampon from its container, and means to break the closure member and eject the tampon from its container after the insertion of the latter into the vagina.

3. In a tampon applicator, a tubular tampon container, a tampon therein provided with a withdrawal member, a thin flexible closure member comprising an end portion covering the forward end of the tampon, said end portion being composed of a series of radiating pleats, the apices of which terminate closely adjacent the center of the forward end of the tampon, and a tubular sleeve member extending from said forward end for the length of the container and fixed thereto, said sleeve being provided adjacent the rear end of the tampon container with an inturned flange covering the rear end of the container and preventing said edge from contacting the mucus membranes of the vagina, said inturned flange functioning to fix the closure member in position, said flexible end closure portion being sufficiently liquid-proof to resist the passage therethrough of vaginal fluids and the absorption of said fluids by the forward end of the tampon upon its insertion into the vagina and prior to the ejection of the tampon from its container, and means to break the closure member and eject the tampon from its container after the insertion of the latter into the vagina.

4. In a tampon applicator, a tubular tampon container, a tampon therein provided with a withdrawal member, a thin flexible paper closure member comprising an end portion covering the forward end of the tampon, said end portion being composed of a series of radiating pleats, the apices of which terminate closely adjacent the center of the forward end of the tampon, the end portion carrying a coating of plasticized paraffin, and a tubular sleeve member extending from said forward end for the length of the container and fixed thereto, said sleeve being provided adjacent the rear end of the tampon container with an in4turned flange covering the rear end of the container and preventing said edge from contacting the mucus membranes of the vagina, said inturned flange functioning to fix the closure member in position, said flexible end closure portion being sufficiently liquid-proof to resist the passage therethrough of vaginal fluids and the absorption of said fluids by the forward end of the tampon upon its insertion into the vagina and prior to the ejection of the tampon from its container, and means to break the closure member and eject the tampon from its container after the insertion of the latter into the vagina.

COURTNEY P. WINTER.