BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
In the dispensing of certain liquid products, such as for example, skin care lotion, it is oftentimes desirable and more beneficial to the user for the product to be dispensed in either a heated or cooled state. Heretofore in order to accomplish this result, it was necessary for the entire amount of the product to be either heated or cooled, which was undesirable for various reasons such as a) it was time-consuming; b) sometimes had a deleterious effect on the quality of the product itself; and c) frequently made the receptacle for the product uncomfortable and awkward to manually manipulate. Furthermore, in many instances the required amount of lotion or liquid product was poured, or dispensed, from the receptacle into the hands of the user before being applied to the face or other parts of the body. The shortcomings of such a procedure were that the hands became sticky or soiled by the product; the product was sometimes spilled or an excess amount was poured, or dispensed, from the receptacle and thus wasted; and the temperature of the product, in the heated or cooled state, was either lowered or raised by the temperature of the hands prior to being applied thereby minimizing the beneficial effect to be achieved by having the product at a predetermined temperature when applied. A further shortcoming which results from quick heating of the entire amount of lotion is that its initial viscosity must be increased to compensate for the drop in viscosity due to the temperature increase. Thus, the lotion subsequently becomes an undesirable heavy thick layer when cooled on the skin surface.
Various types of ball dispensers have heretofore been provided for dispensing liquid products, however, none uses a revolvable ball assembly as a heat exchange element to either raise or lower the skin surface temperature.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
Thus, it is an object of the invention to provide a dispensing apparatus which avoids the aforenoted shortcomings associated with prior apparatus.
It is a further object of this invention to provide a dispenser which either heats, or cools, only the portion of the product being dispensed thereby.
It is a further object of this invention to provide a dispenser which imparts either a heating, or cooling, sensation to the skin surface while at the same time gently massaging said surface.
It is a still further object of the invention to provide a dispenser which enables the product to be dispensed regardless of the relative position of the dispenser with respect to the surface engaged thereby.
It is a still further object of the invention to provide a dispenser which is free of electrical cords and the like when it is in contact with the surface on which the product is to be applied.
It is a still further object of this invention to provide a simple means of charging the ball, or spheroid, with heat energy.
It is a still further object of this invention to provide a dispensing apparatus which is of simple and compact construction, is attractive in appearance, and is versatile in dispensing a wide variety of liquid products.
Further and additional objects will appear from the description, accompanying drawings and appended claims.
In accordance with one embodiment of this invention, a liquid product dispenser is provided which includes a solid revolvable mass that stores thermal energy. In use, the revolving mass contacts the liquid product contained in the receptacle and is in frictional rolling engagement with the skin surface. During dispensing of the product, a film of product adheres to the exterior of the mass as the latter is rotated and then is deposited onto the skin surface. The mass and the skin surface engaged thereby have disparate temperatures thereby producing either a heating, or cooling, sensation to the skin as the product is being applied thereto.
For a more complete understanding of the invention reference should be made to the drawings wherein:
FIG. 1 is a top perspective view of one embodiment of the dispensing apparatus showing a pair of receptacles, accommodated in the storage unit, and with a portion of one receptacle cut away.
FIG. 2 is an enlarged front elevational view of the apparatus of FIG. 1.
FIG. 3 is a left side elevational view of the apparatus of FIG. 2.
FIG. 4 is an enlarged fragmentary sectional view taken along line 4--4 of FIG. 2.
FIG. 5 is an electrical circuit diagram for the heater incorporated in the storage unit shown in FIG. 1.
FIG. 6 is an enlarged end view of the heating block shown in FIG. 4.
FIG. 7 is an enlarged vertical sectional view of one form of a ball dispenser utilized in the apparatus of FIG. 1.
FIG. 8 is a top plan view of the dispenser of FIG. 7.
Referring now to the drawings and more particularly to FIGS. 1-3, one embodiment of the improved apparatus 10 is shown for use in dispensing two liquid products, one in a heated state and the other in a cooled state.
The types of liquid products to be dispensed may be varied as desired (e.g. a viscous cleansing lotion and an astringent). Each product is contained in a separate bottle or receptacle 11 and 12. The receptacles may be of like, or compatible design. In the illustrated embodiment they are of like design and are capable of standing upright when not in use. The receptacle is shaped so that it may be readily grasped and manipulated when the product is to be dispensed therefrom. At the upper end of each receptacle there is a discharge opening surrounded by an annular neck or collar. The neck may be of conventional design and have threads or lugs formed on the exterior thereof.
Affixed to and encompassing each receptacle neck is a ball-type dispenser 13. The dispenser 13, in the illustrated embodiment, includes a single ball or mass 14 with good thermal energy storage capabilities and preferably of a metallic character. The ball diameter should be greater than three-fourths inch so that a substantial amount of skin surface area can be engaged by the ball in a relatively short period of time.
The ball 14 is accommodated by a retainer member 15, preferably of a suitable plastic material. The lower end of the retainer member is provided with a depending annular skirt 16 having internal threads or lugs 16a formed therein which are adapted to lockingly engage the threads or lugs formed on the neck of the receptacle. The opposite, or upper, end of member 15 forms a socket 17 to receive the ball 14. Formed intermediate the ends of the retainer member 15 is a convexo-concave baffle or web 18. The concave side of the baffle is disposed adjacent the upper end of the retainer member. Centrally located on the concave surface of and integral with the baffle 18 is a projection 20, the upper end of which is adapted to contact the exterior of the ball. The baffle 18 is slightly resilient and thus, through the projection imparts an upward bias to the ball.
The ball is retained in the socket 17 by a ring 21 of plastic or other suitable material. The ring opening is slightly larger at its lower side than the ball diameter; however, the upper side of the ring opening is slightly smaller than the ball diameter or provided with a plurality of symmetrically arranged, inwardly projecting lugs 21a which slidably engage the ball exterior. In either arrangement, approximately 30-40 percent of the ball exterior projects outwardly from the upper side of the ring opening. Once the ball has been disposed within the socket 17 of the retainer member, the ring 21 is placed over the ball and the under surface of the ring is then bonded by suitable adhesive to the upper end of the retainer member thereby making the ring and retainer member a unitary structure with the ball rotatably mounted within the socket 17. The lugs may be replaced by a continuous inwardly projecting lip, not shown, depending upon the viscosity of the product being dispensed.
The projection 20 will bias the ball upwardly so that it will positively engage the lugs 21a or lip, not shown. When the ball is in contact with the lugs, there is a small clearance provided between the ball exterior and the remainder of the ring 21, and the portion of the retainer member forming the socket 17 is spaced from the ball so that there is a passageway through which a film of the liquid product will pass as the ball is in rolling contact with the skin surface.
The concave surface of baffle 18 and the exterior of the ball disposed within the socket end of the retainer member 15, cooperate with one another so as to form a pocket P in which a portion of the liquid product becomes entrapped. Access to the pocket P from the interior of the receptacle is provided by one or more openings 22 which are formed in the outer periphery of baffle 18, adjacent to the juncture of the baffle and an annular seat or race 23, the latter forming a part of the socket end of the retainer member. As noted in FIG. 7, the openings 22 are elevated relative to the bottom of the concave surface of baffle 18, as well as the bottom of the ball 14, when the receptacle is in an upright position. When the receptacle is inverted, the liquid product will accumulate at the baffle and will readily flow through the openings into the pocket P.
When the ball exterior is engaging the ring lugs 21a or lip, it is out of contact with the seat 23; however, when the dispenser 13 is capped or covered for shipment of the receptacle 11 or 12 to the customer, the cap, not shown, will exert a downward force on the ball 14 sufficient to overcome the bias of the baffle and cause the ball to be depressed, as shown in dotted lines in FIG. 7, until the ball exterior is in sealing engagement with the annular seat 23 and thus cuts off the passageway between the pocket P and the ring 21. The cap may be of a conventional screw-fit or slip-fit design. The baffle 18 is sufficiently resilient so that it will distort slightly to permit the ball to engage the seat 23. Furthermore, when the dispenser is uncapped and positioned within the storage unit or stand 24, in a manner to be hereinafter described, the ball will also be depressed so as to engage the seat 23.
The storage unit or stand 24, as seen in FIG. 1, forms a part of one embodiment of the improved apparatus and includes a base section 25 adapted to rest upon a suitable supporting surface, an upright back section 26, and a forwardly extending canopylike top section 27. The spacing between the base and top sections is such that the receptacles 11 and 12 can be disposed therebetween while in upright, spaced, parallel positions. When the receptacles are accommodated by the storage unit 24, the ball dispenser of each receptacle is depressed (e.g. 0.0031 inch) by the top section 27 so that the contents of each receptacle will not evaporate while the receptacle is disposed within the unit 24. Furthermore, by having the ball in tension when accommodated by the storage unit, accidental disassembly of the receptacle from the unit is avoided.
The upper surface 25a of the base section 25 may slope downwardly a slight amount from the back section, as seen in FIG. 3. A pair of horizontally disposed, relatively wide plateau portions 25b having top surfaces with substantially concave depressions formed therein are provided on the sloping surface 25a and supportingly engage the bottoms of the receptacles when the latter are assembled in the storage unit. The concave depressions permit the bottom portion of the receptacle to be swung inwardly or outwardly relative to the accommodated ball when assembling or disassembling the receptacle with respect to the storage unit.
Mounted on the underside of top section 27 is a pair of ball-engaging pieces 28 and 30. Piece 28 is adapted to receive the ball 14 of the dispenser carried by receptacle 11 and in a like manner piece 30 is adapted to receive the ball of the dispenser carried by receptacle 12. Piece 28, as seen more clearly in FIGS. 2, 4, and 6, comprises a composite rectangularly shaped block 31 which is formed of a suitable thermal conductive material. As seen in FIG. 6, the block 31 includes an upper section 31a and a compatible lower section 31b. A sealing gasket 31c is sandwiched between the sections so as to render the block and the various components mounted therein water proof.
The underside of the plate is exposed and is provided with a centrally disposed substantially hemi-spherical cavity 32 which is shaped to closely conform to the protruding exterior portion of the ball 14 carried on receptacle 11. A small neon light 33 is disposed at the front face of the block and can be observed through a suitable opening 34 formed in the upper section 27 of the storage unit 24, see FIG. 4. The function of the light 33 will be described more fully hereinafter. Disposed on opposite sides of cavity 32 are an elongated thermostat 35 and an elongated fuse link 36; both the thermostat and fuse link form components of the electrical heating circuit C, shown schematically in FIG. 5. In addition to the thermostat and fuse link, the heating circuit includes a pair of heat elements or resistors 37 and 38 which are disposed on opposite sides of the cavity 32.
As seen in the circuit diagram C, shown in FIG. 5, heat elements 37 and 38 are connected in series with one another and with the fuse link 36. The thermostat 35, which is normally closed, is in series connection with the heat elements and is in parallel connection with the light 33 and a resistor 39 associated therewith, said light 33 serves as a ready light. An on-off switch 42 completes the circuit. The on-off switch 42 is mounted on the front face of the base section 25 of the storage unit 24, see FIGS. 1 and 2. The fuse link 36 is a safety device and will melt at a predetermined temperature breaking the circuit, if the plate should overheat due to a failure of the thermostat 35. The various components comprising the heating circuit are adapted to operate on a conventional 110-120 volt power source.
Piece 30 is adapted to receive the ball 14 carried on receptacle 12 and is void of any heating components. It is not essential that piece 30 be of metallic material, but if metal, will enable the accommodated ball to reach ambient temperature more quickly after it has been in contact with the skin surface. To prevent piece 30 from being heated by the block 31 of piece 28, a double wall 43 is formed in the top section 27 of the storage unit 24, see FIG. 4, which separates the two blocks.
Engaging the "on" position of switch 42 initiates current through resistors 37 and 38 to heat block 31 of piece 28. Once the heated block 31 reaches a predetermined temperature, (e.g. 125°F) the thermostat 35 will open and ready light 33 will illuminate. Once the ready light is on, the receptacle is ready to be manually removed from the unit. The receptacle is then inverted so that the product will become entrapped in the pocket P. The heated ball 14 is then frictionally rolled across the skin surface causing a film of product to adhere to the exterior of the heated ball and be heated thereby before being applied to the skin surface. The heat and massaging produced by the heated ball will cause the skin pores to dilate permitting deep penetration of the applied product. After the heated product has remained on the skin surface for a predetermined period of time, it (assuming it is a cleansing lotion) is wiped or washed off and then the receptacle 12, containing an astringent or the like, is removed from the unit and the procedure followed with respect to the heated ball receptacle is repeated with respect to the unheated or cold ball. Because the ball of the receptacle is cool compared to the skin temperature, plus the fact that the product dispensed by the cold ball is a low viscosity fluid that promotes evaporative cooling and normally has a high alcohol content, an enhanced cooling sensation is produced on the skin surface which closes the pores and gives a most pleasant and refreshed feeling.
When utilizing the heated ball dispenser of receptacle 11, the ball 14 thereof performs three basic functions: (1) it warms the film of liquid product which has adhered to the exterior of the ball; (2) it applies the film of warm liquid product onto the skin surface; and (3) it warms and massages the skin surface through direct contact. The performance of the first and third functions depends upon the heat transferred from the ball to the product and then to the skin surface. Thus, the thermal characteristics of the ball are of paramount importance and include matters such as (a) coefficient of thermal conductivity and (b) specific heat. The coefficient of thermal conductivity is defined as the quantity of heat, expressed in calories, which is transmitted per second through a plate 1 centimeter thick across an area of 1 square centimeter when the temperature difference is 1°C. Specific heat, as used herein, is the numerical value in calories that is required to raise the temperature of 1 gram of material 1°C.
It has been found that the heated ball 14 should be capable of dispensing 21/2 grams of the product on 90-100 square inches of skin surface within 60 seconds and that the temperature drop of the element should not exceed 10°F. The amount and type of material to be used in forming the ball 14 is dependent upon the number of calories required to produce the desired result. Tests indicate that 70 calories are required to produce the most desirable results; however, in certain instances 35 calories might be acceptable. Thus, if 35 calories are utilized as the minimum figure, then the ball should release 6.3 calories for each temperature drop of one degree centigrade. Thus, if the performance specification aforenoted is to be followed wherein a 10°F (approx. 5.5°C) temperature drop is to be attained, then 5.5°C × 6.3 calories per degree centigrade will equal approximately 35 calories. Thus, the ball should be capable of releasing more than 6.3 calories per 1°C in the 70°-130°F temperature range. The coefficient of thermal conductivity of the ball should be greater than 0.01 cal-cm per sec-cm2 -°C and preferably that of 0.052 cal-cm per sec-cm2 -°C which is that of chrome steel (10 percent chrome). The following table sets forth the coefficient of thermal conductivity of several materials which might be used in forming the ball:
Material Coefficient of Thermal Conductivity Aluminum 0.49 Brass 0.26 Copper 0.92 Steel (Nickel 30%) 0.029 Steel (Chrome 10%) 0.052 Steel (Carbon) 0.12 Lead 0.083 Silver 0.97
As aforementioned, the specific heat of the ball material is also an important consideration and thus the following table indicates the specific heat of the materials listed above:
Material Specific Heat Aluminum 0.217 Brass 0.094 Copper 0.093 Steel 0.113 Lead 0.031 Silver 0.056
Where the ball 14 is not heated and is used as a cold ball dispenser, it performs two basic functions: a) it coats the skin surface with a product which preferably has a high alcohol content, and b) it cools the skin surface through direct contact. Since the heat flow in this situation is always from the skin surface, the use of a ball for this purpose is practical and effective because: 1) the average skin temperature is from about 90°F to about 93°F; 2) the average room (ambient) temperature is from about 70°F to about 80°F; 3) the ball and product will normally assume the average room temperature and thus be approximately 10° to 23°F cooler than the temperature of the skin surface; and 4) the evaporative cooling effect of the applied product will enhance the cooling due to the heat flow from the skin surface to the ball. Tests have shown that the thermal characteristics recited with respect to the heated ball apply to the cold ball.
In determining the effectiveness of a cold ball in dispensing a liquid product onto the skin surface, the following comparative tests were conducted:
Test A: the liquid product was applied by hands alone.
Skin temperature before application -- 92°F
Skin temperature after application (10 sec.) -- 86°F
Temperature drop -- 6°F
Test B: the liquid product was applied by the ball dispenser alone.
Skin temperature before application -- 92°F
Skin temperature after application with ball in rolling contact with skin surface for 10 sec. -- 82°F
Temperature drop -- 10°F
The temperature measurements in each instance were made utilizing a SIMPSON MODEL 388 THERM-O-METER measuring device with a probe sensor. The ball was of steel, having a 1-1/4 inches diameter and weighing 5 oz. The temperature of the ball and astringent before application was 70°F.
Thus, it will be seen that a dispenser of the type described has been provided which is more effective in dispensing a product in either a heated or cooled state. While a dispenser has been described utilizing a ball, it is to be understood, of course, that a cylindrical member or roller may be substituted for the ball. The shape and size of the receptacle may vary, if desired, from that shown and the retainer member, except for the ring, made integral with the receptacle when the latter is formed. Furthermore, the storage unit may be of such size that it accommodates only the receptacle 11.