Title:
Flushable Moist Wipe Toilet Roll Core Dispenser
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A flushable wipe dispenser is insertable into a standard toilet paper roll and holder. The assembled toilet paper roll and device are positioned onto a standard toilet roll holder, allowing for convenient and space-saving access to flushable wipes. The dispenser allows the user to easily draw-out a moist wipe from a convenient location at the center of the toilet roll tube. The convenient location better enables easy usage of the toilet paper and moist wipes by the consumer and with a less visibly obtrusive moist wipe container.



Inventors:
Bricker, Ryan E. (Dallas, TX, US)
Application Number:
14/481630
Publication Date:
03/12/2015
Filing Date:
09/09/2014
Assignee:
BRICKER RYAN E.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47K10/38
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
RIVERA, WILLIAM ARAUZ
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BOOTH ALBANESI SCHROEDER PLLC (10000 North Central Expressway Suite 400 DALLAS TX 75231)
Claims:
It is claimed:

1. A flushable wipes dispenser device for use with a standard toilet paper roll holder, the device comprising: a housing having a generally tubular body, a front end cap, and a back end cap; the body defining an interior cavity for containing flushable wipes, and the body having an outer diameter sized to fit into a standard toilet paper roll tube; the back end cap attached to the generally tubular body, enclosing the back end of the generally tubular body; the front end cap removably attached to the generally tubular body, and enclosing the front end of the generally tubular body; the front end cap having an opening through which wipes can be removed from the interior cavity; two connectors attached to the housing and sized to cooperate with the standard toilet paper roll holder, the connectors extending axially from the housing and supporting the device from the holder.

2. The device of claim 1, wherein the housing contacts the interior surface of the toilet paper roll tube and is cylindrical, polygonal, or has radial projections from its exterior surface.

3. The device of claim 1, wherein at least one of the connectors is axially movable in relation to the tubular body.

4. The device of claim 3, wherein the at least one connector is axially movable by elastic deformation, by pivoting movement, or by axial movement.

5. The device of claim 3, wherein the two connectors comprise a first and second connector, and wherein the first connector is attached to and extends axially from the front end cap, and wherein the second connector is attached to and extends axially from the back end cap.

6. The device of claim 1, wherein the back end cap is removably attached to the tubular body, permanently attached to the tubular body, or is integral to the tubular body.

7. The device of claim 1, wherein at least one of the back end cap and front end cap further comprises a radial flange having a diameter greater than the inner diameter of the toilet paper roll tube for abutting the tube when the tubular body is inserted therein.

8. The device of claim 1, wherein at least the front end cap is removably attachable to the tubular body by friction fit or threaded connection.

9. The device of claim 1, wherein the connectors define an axis of rotation of the device, and wherein the axis of rotation is unaligned with the axis of the toilet paper roll tube.

10. The device of claim 1, wherein the front end cap opening allows for removal of a first wipe from the device by pulling, while retaining a second wipe partially extending through the opening.

11. The device of claim 1, wherein the front end cap further comprises a movable cover for selectively sealing the opening.

12. The device of claim 1, further comprising a plurality of flushable wipes positioned in the interior cavity of the tubular body, the plurality of wipes arranged in a roll, each wipe separable from an adjacent wipe by perforations, or arranged in a inter-folded stack, with both sides of a folded portion of each wipe abutting an adjacent wipe.

13. The device of claim 1, wherein the back end cap is movably mounted to the tubular body, having a biasing mechanism biasing the back end cap to move axially away from the tubular body, and axially movable toward the tubular body upon application of an axial force.

14. The device of claim 13, wherein the front end cap is movably mounted to the tubular body, having a biasing mechanism biasing the back end cap to move axially away from the tubular body, and axially movable toward the tubular body upon application of an axial force.

15. A method of using a flushable wipe dispenser in connection with a toilet paper roll tube, the method comprising: Positioning a generally tubular housing inside the toilet paper roll tube; Creating a toilet paper roll and dispenser assembly by attaching a front end cap to the front end of the tubular body, the end cap enclosing the front end of the tubular body; and Pulling a flushable wipe from an opening defined through the front end cap after creating the assembly.

16. The method of claim 15, further comprising removing toilet paper from the toilet paper roll around the tube.

17. The method of claim 16, further comprising removing the front end cap from the tubular body, re-filling the tubular body with flushable wipes, replacing the front end cap onto the tubular body, and placing the toilet paper roll and dispenser assembly onto a toilet paper roll holder.

18. The method of claim 15, further comprising attaching a back end cap to the tubular body.

19. The method of claim 15, further comprising inserting the tubular body into the toilet paper roll tube until a radial flange of the back end cap abuts the toilet paper roll tube.

20. The method of claim 15, further comprising moving a cover movably mounted to the front end cap to uncover the opening therethrough, removing a wipe from the tubular body, and moving the cover to cover the opening.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This is a Non-Provisional U.S. patent application claiming priority to U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 61/875,928, filed Sep. 10, 2013, to Ryan Bricker, which is incorporated herein in its entirety by reference for all purposes.

FIELD OF INVENTION

The present disclosure is in the technical field of personal hygiene products, and more particularly, relates to a dispenser for flushable, moist-wipes for use with a roll of toilet paper.

BACKGROUND

A robust consumer market exists for personal hygiene products and, in particular, personal wipes for use in a water closet or bathroom near an existing toilet roll holder. Existing personal hygiene products offer various shaped box-like containers and dispensers that are typically stand-alone. Some of these existing products have ways to attach to wall or other surfaces or to hang above or below an existing toilet roll holder or stand.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING

The present disclosures are described by reference to drawings showing one or more examples of how the disclosures can be made and used. In these drawing, reference characters are used throughout the several views to indicate like or corresponding parts. In the description which follows, like or corresponding parts are marked throughout the specification and drawing with the same reference numerals, respectively. The drawing does not purport to be to scale and proportions of certain parts have been exaggerated to better illustrate details and features.

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an embodiment of the dispenser according to an aspect of the disclosure.

FIG. 2 is a perspective, exploded view of an embodiment of the dispenser according to an aspect of the disclosure.

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of an embodiment of the dispenser according to an aspect of the disclosure positioned for assembly into a toilet roll.

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of an embodiment of the dispenser according to an aspect of the disclosure assembled in a toilet roll and positioned in a toilet roll holder.

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of an embodiment of the dispenser according to an aspect of the disclosure having an adapter for use with a single-sided toilet roll holder.

FIG. 6 is an orthogonal view an exemplary embodiment according to an aspect of the disclosure having a biased end cap.

FIG. 7 is an exploded view of the embodiment of FIG. 6.

DESCRIPTION

For a more complete understanding of the features and advantages of the present invention, reference is now made to the detailed description of the invention along with the accompanying figures in which corresponding numerals in the different figures refer to corresponding parts.

The disclosure herein presents an exemplary device that contains and dispenses a plurality of flushable, moist personal wipes and which is designed for insertion into a standard toilet paper tube. The dispenser device is sized to allow a user to insert the device into the hollow interior of a standard toilet paper tube. The assembled tube and device are positioned onto a standard toilet roll holder, existing or newly added. This allows for convenient and space-saving access to flushable wipes integrated into the toilet roll. The dispenser device allows the user to easily draw-out a moist wipe from the convenient location of the center of the toilet roll tube. The convenient location better enables easy usage of the toilet paper and moist wipes by the consumer and with a less visibly obtrusive moist wipe container.

The FIGS. 1-7 will be discussed together to save repetition even where the particular embodiments differ. Reference characters are used throughout the several views to indicate like or corresponding parts.

A dispenser device 1 has a dispenser housing 10 is generally tubular, having a tubular body 30 defining an interior space 32 and having opposing back and front ends, 34 and 36, respectively. In use, the dispenser housing is inserted by hand into a standard toilet paper tube 40. The body 30 is shown as cylindrical, although other shapes can be employed, such as hexagonal, octagonal, or other polygonal forms, or can have short, outward radial extensions. Such shapes or extensions can enhance the ability to easily insert the device into the toilet paper tube while still providing some stabilizing friction between the housing and tube.

In one embodiment, back and front end caps form the back and front ends of the device housing. The back end cap 12 can be removably attached to the back end 34 of the body 30, such as by friction fit, cooperating threads, adhesive, or the like. Similarly, a front end cap 16 forms the front end 36 of the housing 10, opposite the back end 32. The front end cap 16 can be removably attached to the body 30, such as by friction fit, cooperating threads, adhesive or the like.

Each end cap, in the shown embodiment, has a sleeve portion 19 having an inner diameter equal to or slightly less than the outer diameter of the body 30 such that the end cap and body are attachable by a friction fit. Alternately, one or both of the front and back ends can be permanently attached or integral to (i.e., formed of-a-piece) the body 30. The fit of one or both end caps can be water-tight in an embodiment to maintain the moistness of the wipes. Further, the front end cap 16 can include a re-sealable flap or cover 58 (FIGS. 6 and 7), openable to allow access to wipes and closable to maintain the moisture within the body 30.

In one embodiment of the disclosure, the front and/or back ends further include flanges 17 sized to abut the toilet paper tube 40. In such a case, a removable or flangeless end is provided to allow insertion of the body 30 into the tube 40.

The back and front ends of the housing further include back and front holder connectors 13 and 14 respectively. In the shown embodiment, the holder connectors 13 and 14 are integral to their respective end caps 12 and 16. Alternately, the holder connectors can be removably attached to the end caps.

The connectors 13 and 14 are generally male connectors, extending axially from the device ends. The connectors are designed to and do cooperate with the opposing female recesses defined in standard toilet roll holders such that the device (and toilet roll) when positioned in the holder is suspended by the holder recesses. The connectors shown are generally annular although other shapes and configurations can be used, such as button-shaped, substantially cylindrical, solid or hollow, etc. At least one of the holder connectors 13 and 14, in one embodiment, will be flexible to allow proper insertion of the connectors into corresponding female recesses on a standard toilet roll holder 24. Such a flexible connector can be made of plastic, rubber, or other material capable of elastic deformation under pressures and forces typically necessary to position the device in a holder.

Alternately, one or both of the connectors can be spring-loaded or otherwise movable between a position allowing movement of the device connectors into alignment with the holder recesses and an extended position wherein the connectors engage with the holder recesses, as seen in FIGS. 6 and 7. Similarly, the connectors can comprise semi-flexible tabs or pivoted extensions which fold to allow positioning in alignment with the holder recesses and automatically return to an extended position once aligned with the recesses.

The front end cap 16 further includes a perforation or opening 18 for accessing the flushable wipes positioned in the device. In one embodiment, the opening 18 comprises cross-hair slits through the front end cap 16. Alternate embodiments include a single slit through the end cap, a plurality of intersecting slits through the end cap, a generally circular opening through the end cap, and other equivalents known in the art. As used here, the phrase “through the end cap” means that, in use, the wipes can be pulled through the opening. It is specifically intended that such openings can initially be sealed, initially only partially extend through the end cap, comprise perforations, etc., as is known in the art.

A plurality of flushable wipes 20 are positioned or positionable within the interior 32 defined by the device body 30. The plurality of wipes 20 can comprise a roll 42 of perforated wipes, as shown. Alternately, the plurality of wipes can comprise a series of inter-folded wipes or other arrangement as is known in the art.

The opening 18 preferably works to allow removal of a single wipe 20 using one hand and hold the subsequent wipe in position extending partially through the opening. Again, such arrangements are known in the art and are sometimes referred to as pop-up wipes. In one embodiment, the wipe dispenser and the plurality of flushable moist wipes 20 are separate products; that is, the dispenser 10 is refillable with additional rolls or stacks of moist wipes. In such an embodiment, access to the interior 32 of the device for inserting additional wipes can be gained by removing the front end cap 16.

The toilet paper roll 22 is a separate product from the disclosed device and is shown for reference. The standard toilet paper holder 24 is a separate product from the disclosed device and is shown for reference.

In an embodiment for use with single-sided toilet paper holders, an adapter 44 is provided. Arms 26 extend radially from the housing 10 and define apertures 46 for insertion of a toilet paper holder arm 48 of a non-standard toilet paper roll holder 28. The arms 26 can be attachable at one end to the end caps of the housing, such as at connectors 13 and 14 as shown, or can be integral to the device housing or caps. Such arms allow use of the device with a cantilevered or pivoted holder arm 48. The adapter 44 hangs vertically to create clearance for the toilet paper roll 22 beneath the holder arm 48.

In use, the front end cap is removed. The dispenser body is slid into a standard toilet roll tube. A first moist wipe is partially pulled through the front end cap opening. The front end cap is connected to the dispenser body. The dispenser with the toilet paper roll attached is then inserted into the toilet paper holder with the dispenser connectors cooperating with corresponding holder recesses. A wipe is pulled from the dispenser and a second wipe is partially pulled through and held by the end cap opening. To refill the dispenser, the assembled roll and dispenser are removed from the toilet paper holder. The front end cap is removed. The dispenser body is optionally removed from the toilet paper roll tube. A new set of wipes are positioned in the interior space of the dispenser body. The process is repeated as needed. In use, if the toilet paper roll is exhausted prior to the moist wipes, the dispenser is removed from the toilet paper roll tube and positioned in another such tube.

The product is made of common manufacturing material or materials, such as plastic, rubber, aluminum, etc., and can be manufactured by any known process, such as molding, cast molding, spinning, injection molding, machining, etc.

In an alternate embodiment, one or both of the end caps can be attached or removably attachable to a flexible bag containing a plurality of moist wipes. The bag is of a flexible material, such as a flexible plastic, preferably water proof to seal in moistness. The flexible bag can be permanently attached at one end (or both ends) to a substantially stiffer plug. The plug can be sized to cooperate with either a toilet paper roll tube directly or with an end cap as described elsewhere herein. The plug includes an opening for dispensing the wipes which can be initially sealed, perforated, partially perforated, slotted, etc. In use, a bag of wipes is inserted into either the roll tube directly or is attached, such as by friction fit, to an end cap having a corresponding opening therethrough.

In the embodiment shown, the connectors 13 and 14 serve to define the axis of rotation of the device and of the assembled device and toilet paper roll. The axis is off-set from the usual axis of the toilet paper roll alone. Such a non-centered axis of rotation should insure that the assembled roll and device always return to a position with the wipe-dispensing opening at bottom dead-center for ease and consistency of user access. In an alternative embodiment, the axis of rotation defined by the connectors 13 and 14 (when the device is assembled with the toilet paper roll) is coaxial with the toilet paper roll axis.

FIG. 6 is an orthogonal view an exemplary embodiment according to an aspect of the disclosure having a spring-loaded end cap. FIG. 7 is an exploded view of the embodiment of FIG. 6. An end cap, here the back end cap 12, can be spring-loaded with a biasing mechanism 50 such as a spring. The biasing mechanism 50 seats against an interior surface, such as the end wall, defined by the end cap 12 and against a similar interior surface, such as a shoulder or the like, defined by the body 30. The back end cap 12 includes a sleeve 52 having an inner diameter equal to or slightly greater than the outer diameter of the body 30. The movable end cap can be moved axially in relation to the body to a compressed position, shown by the dotted lines of FIG. 6, allowing positioning of the device in a toilet paper roll holder. The end cap reverts to an initial, axially extended position, seen in solid lines in FIG. 6, unless met with resistance. It is possible to have both end caps axially movable or spring-loaded.

A flushable wipes dispenser device is presented for use with a standard toilet paper roll holder, the device comprising: a housing having a generally tubular body, a front end cap, and a back end cap; the body defining an interior cavity for containing flushable wipes, and the body having an outer diameter sized to fit into a standard toilet paper roll tube; the back end cap attached to the generally tubular body, enclosing the back end of the generally tubular body; the front end cap removably attached to the generally tubular body, and enclosing the front end of the generally tubular body; the front end cap having an opening through which wipes can be removed from the interior cavity; two connectors attached to the housing and sized to cooperate with the standard toilet paper roll holder, the connectors extending axially from the housing and supporting the device from the holder. The device can additionally comprise one or more of the following features: wherein the housing contacts the interior surface of the toilet paper roll tube and is cylindrical, polygonal, or has radial projections from its exterior surface; wherein at least one of the connectors is axially movable in relation to the tubular body; wherein the at least one connector is axially movable by elastic deformation, by pivoting movement, or by axial movement; wherein the two connectors comprise a first and second connector, and wherein the first connector is attached to and extends axially from the front end cap, and wherein the second connector is attached to and extends axially from the back end cap; wherein the back end cap is removably attached to the tubular body, permanently attached to the tubular body, or is integral to the tubular body; wherein at least one of the back end cap and front end cap further comprises a radial flange having a diameter greater than the inner diameter of the toilet paper roll tube for abutting the tube when the tubular body is inserted therein; wherein at least the front end cap is removably attachable to the tubular body by friction fit or threaded connection; wherein the connectors define an axis of rotation of the device, and wherein the axis of rotation is unaligned with the axis of the toilet paper roll tube; wherein the front end cap opening allows for removal of a first wipe from the device by pulling, while retaining a second wipe partially extending through the opening; wherein the front end cap further comprises a movable cover for selectively sealing the opening; further comprising a plurality of flushable wipes positioned in the interior cavity of the tubular body, the plurality of wipes arranged in a roll, each wipe separable from an adjacent wipe by perforations, or arranged in an inter-folded stack, with both sides of a folded portion of each wipe abutting an adjacent wipe; wherein the back end cap is movably mounted to the tubular body, having a biasing mechanism biasing the back end cap to move axially away from the tubular body, and axially movable toward the tubular body upon application of an axial force; and/or wherein the front end cap is movably mounted to the tubular body, having a biasing mechanism biasing the back end cap to move axially away from the tubular body, and axially movable toward the tubular body upon application of an axial force.

Various methods are disclosed herein and are not limited to the particular order of steps of actions mentioned or listed. The various methods include methods having additional steps, eliminating steps, repeating steps, and performing the listed steps in any order. The steps are not listed in every conceivable combination in order to save repetition and space. Possible methods are described here using claim terminology and are numbered for ease of reference and not to limit the method steps, exclude steps, or to indicate order of steps. 1. A method of using a flushable wipe dispenser in connection with a toilet paper roll tube, the method comprising: positioning a generally tubular housing inside the toilet paper roll tube; creating a toilet paper roll and dispenser assembly by attaching a front end cap to the front end of the tubular body, the end cap enclosing the front end of the tubular body; and pulling a flushable wipe from an opening defined through the front end cap after creating the assembly. 16. The method of claim 15, further comprising removing toilet paper from the toilet paper roll around the tube. 17. The method of claim 16, further comprising removing the front end cap from the tubular body, re-filling the tubular body with flushable wipes, replacing the front end cap onto the tubular body, and placing the toilet paper roll and dispenser assembly onto a toilet paper roll holder. 18. The method of claim 15, further comprising attaching a back end cap to the tubular body. 19. The method of claim 15, further comprising inserting the tubular body into the toilet paper roll tube until a radial flange of the back end cap abuts the toilet paper roll tube. 20. The method of claim 15, further comprising moving a cover movably mounted to the front end cap to uncover the opening therethrough, removing a wipe from the tubular body, and moving the cover to cover the opening.

The words or terms used herein have their plain, ordinary meaning in the field of this disclosure, except to the extent explicitly and clearly defined in this disclosure or unless the specific context otherwise requires a different meaning.

The words “comprising,” “containing,” “including,” “having,” and all grammatical variations thereof are intended to have an open, non-limiting meaning. For example, a composition comprising a component does not exclude it from having additional components, an apparatus comprising a part does not exclude it from having additional parts, and a method having a step does not exclude it having additional steps. The indefinite articles “a” or “an” mean one or more than one of the component, part, or step that the article introduces. The terms “and,” “or,” and “and/or” shall be read in the least restrictive sense possible.

While the foregoing written description of the disclosure enables one of ordinary skill to make and use the embodiments discussed, those of ordinary skill will understand and appreciate the existence of variations, combinations, and equivalents of the specific embodiments, methods, and examples herein. The invention should therefore not be limited by the above described embodiments, methods, and examples. While this disclosure has been described with reference to illustrative embodiments, this description is not intended to be construed in a limiting sense. Various modifications and combinations of the illustrative embodiments as well as other embodiments of the invention will be apparent to persons skilled in the art upon reference to the description. It is, therefore, intended that the appended claims encompass any such modifications or embodiments.

The particular embodiments disclosed above are illustrative only, as the present disclosure may be modified and practiced in different but equivalent manners apparent to those skilled in the art having the benefit of the teachings herein. It is, therefore, evident that the particular illustrative embodiments disclosed above may be altered or modified and all such variations are considered within the scope of the present disclosure. The various elements or steps according to the disclosed elements or steps can be combined advantageously or practiced together in various combinations or sub-combinations of elements or sequences of steps to increase the efficiency and benefits that can be obtained from the disclosure.

It will be appreciated that one or more of the above embodiments may be combined with one or more of the other embodiments, unless explicitly stated otherwise. The disclosure illustratively disclosed herein suitably may be practiced in the absence of any element or step that is not specifically disclosed or claimed. Furthermore, no limitations are intended to the details of construction, composition, design, or steps herein shown, other than as described in the claims.