US20050101894A1 - Coupling device for security coupling first and second elements - Google Patents

Coupling device for security coupling first and second elements Download PDF

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Publication number
US20050101894A1
US20050101894A1 US11/010,064 US1006404A US2005101894A1 US 20050101894 A1 US20050101894 A1 US 20050101894A1 US 1006404 A US1006404 A US 1006404A US 2005101894 A1 US2005101894 A1 US 2005101894A1
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respective
passage
levers
cylinder
defined
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US11/010,064
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Joseph Hippensteel
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Hippensteel Joseph B
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Hippensteel Joseph B.
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Priority to US28063501P priority Critical
Priority to US10/112,560 priority patent/US6835181B2/en
Application filed by Hippensteel Joseph B. filed Critical Hippensteel Joseph B.
Priority to US11/010,064 priority patent/US20050101894A1/en
Publication of US20050101894A1 publication Critical patent/US20050101894A1/en
Application status is Abandoned legal-status Critical

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    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F16ENGINEERING ELEMENTS AND UNITS; GENERAL MEASURES FOR PRODUCING AND MAINTAINING EFFECTIVE FUNCTIONING OF MACHINES OR INSTALLATIONS; THERMAL INSULATION IN GENERAL
    • F16LPIPES; JOINTS OR FITTINGS FOR PIPES; SUPPORTS FOR PIPES, CABLES OR PROTECTIVE TUBING; MEANS FOR THERMAL INSULATION IN GENERAL
    • F16L1/00Laying or reclaiming pipes; Repairing or joining pipes on or under water
    • F16L1/024Laying or reclaiming pipes on land, e.g. above the ground
    • F16L1/028Laying or reclaiming pipes on land, e.g. above the ground in the ground
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61CDENTISTRY; APPARATUS OR METHODS FOR ORAL OR DENTAL HYGIENE
    • A61C17/00Devices for cleaning, polishing, rinsing or drying teeth, teeth cavities or prostheses; Saliva removers; Dental appliances for receiving spittle
    • A61C17/02Rinsing or air-blowing devices, e.g. using fluid jets or comprising liquid medication
    • A61C17/032Rinsing or air-blowing devices, e.g. using fluid jets or comprising liquid medication using pressurised tap-water, e.g. rinsing devices specially adapted for being connected to the main water supply
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61CDENTISTRY; APPARATUS OR METHODS FOR ORAL OR DENTAL HYGIENE
    • A61C1/00Dental machines for boring or cutting ; General features of dental machines or apparatus, e.g. hand-piece design
    • A61C1/0061Air and water supply systems; Valves specially adapted therefor
    • A61C1/0084Supply units, e.g. reservoir arrangements, specially adapted pumps

Abstract

The present invention relates generally to coupling devices for securely coupling first and second elements. The disclosed device can be used, for example, to connect different components of oral hygiene apparatuses that produce a relatively high-velocity water jet to clean a person's teeth.

Description

    CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
  • This application is a divisional under 35 U.S.C. §120 and 37 C.F.R §1.53(b) of U.S. application Ser. No. 10/112,560 filed Mar. 29, 2002 naming as inventor Joseph B. Hippensteel, which is hereby incorporated herein in its entirety by reference.
  • FIELD OF THE INVENTION
  • The present invention relates generally to coupling devices for securely coupling first and second elements. The disclosed device can be used, for example, to connect different components of oral hygiene apparatuses that produce a relatively high-velocity water jet to clean a person's teeth.
  • BACKGROUND INFORMATION
  • U.S. Pat. No. 4,650,470 discloses a water jet system for use in oral hygiene among other purposes. The system has a diverter valve attached to a faucet, a container, a flow control valve, and a jet adaptor. The container has a wedged nozzle for joining to the diverter valve, a tapered nozzle connector at the end of the hose for coupling to the container, and a wedged nozzle for joining the jet adaptor to the flow control valve. Although this system has certain advantages in being able to mix an oral hygiene solution with water to be sprayed from the jet adaptor for use in oral hygiene, it also has disadvantages that limit its usefulness in many applications. The use of wedged or tapered nozzles provides the possibility that one or more elements will separate if inadvertently contacted. If the system is in use at the time this occurs, a substantial amount of cleaning of the user's clothing or person as well as the area affected by spraying or spillage of water and solution may be required. It would be desirable to overcome these disadvantages of previous devices.
  • Another disadvantage of previous systems is that if the container is to be refilled with oral hygiene solution, the container must be entirely separated from the system before it can be filled with additional solution or replaced with another container with a different solution. In many oral hygiene apparatuses of this nature, removal and reattachment of the container from the system can be cumbersome and requires a significant amount of time to complete the operation. It would be desirable to overcome these disadvantages of previous oral hygiene apparatuses.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • In their various embodiments, the disclosed apparatuses overcome the disadvantages noted above with respect to previous technologies.
  • The present invention relates generally to coupling devices for securely coupling first and second elements. The disclosed device can be used, for example, to connect different components of oral hygiene apparatuses that produce a relatively high-velocity water jet to clean a person's teeth.
  • In one embodiment of the present invention, a coupling device for coupling respective passages of first and second elements in communication with one another is described that includes an inner cylinder defining a passage; an outer cylinder surrounding a first portion of the inner cylinder, the outer cylinder having a closed wall defining an aperture through which a second portion of the inner cylinder extends, the second portion of the inner cylinder having threads defined on an outer surface thereof, the threads of the inner cylinder capable of joining with threads defined in an inner surface defining the passage of the first element so that the passage of the inner cylinder communicates with the passage of the first element; first and second pairs of spaced plates positioned on opposite sides of the outer cylinder; and first and second levers positioned between respective first and second pairs of plates.
  • This embodiment of the present invention further includes first and second pins extending through respective first and second levers and having ends supported by the first and second pairs of plates, the first and second levers pivotally mounted to the first and second pairs of plates by respective first and second pins; and first and second springs having respective first ends fixed to respective first and second levers, and second ends fixed to the outer surface of the outer cylinder, the first and second springs biasing respective first and second levers so that the locking ends thereof extend into apertures defined in the outer surface of the outer cylinder to engage with an annular groove of the second element positioned between the inner and outer cylinders so that the passage of the second element communicates with the passage of the inner cylinder, the first and second elements thereby capable of being releasably locked together by the coupling device so that their respective passages communicate with one another.
  • In another embodiment of the present invention, a coupling device for coupling respective passages of first and second elements in communication with one another is described that includes an inner cylinder defining a passage; an outer cylinder surrounding a first portion of the inner cylinder, the outer cylinder having a closed wall defining an aperture through which a second portion of the inner cylinder extends, the second portion of the inner cylinder having threads defined on an outer surface thereof, the threads of the inner cylinder capable of joining with threads defined in an inner surface defining the passage of the first element so that the passage of the inner cylinder communicates with the passage of the first element; first and second pairs of spaced plates positioned on opposite sides of the outer cylinder; and first and second levers positioned between respective first and second pairs of plates.
  • This embodiment of the present invention further includes first and second pins extending through respective first and second levers and having ends supported by the first and second pairs of plates, the first and second levers pivotally mounted to the first and second pairs of plates by respective first and second pins; and first and second springs having respective first ends fixed to respective first and second levers, and second ends fixed to the outer surface of the outer cylinder, the first and second springs biasing respective first and second levers so that the locking ends thereof extend into apertures defined in the outer surface of the outer cylinder to engage with an annular groove of the second element positioned between the inner and outer cylinders so that the passage of the second element communicates with the passage of the inner cylinder, the first and second elements thereby capable of being releasably locked together by the coupling device so that their respective passages communicate with one another, wherein the first and second springs have respective first and second ends fixed to respective posts defined in the first and second levers and the outer surface of the outer cylinder.
  • Details of the construction and operation of the invention are more fully hereinafter described and claimed. In the detailed description, reference is made to the accompanying drawings, forming a part of this disclosure, in which like numerals refer to like parts throughout the several views.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • FIG. 1 is a view of a oral hygiene apparatus of the invention comprising diverter valve, container, coupling devices, a hose, and jet tip;
  • FIG. 2 is an exploded view of the oral hygiene apparatus of the invention;
  • FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional view of the diverter valve assembly attached to a faucet;
  • FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional view of a coupling device and portions of the valve and container to which the coupling device is attached;
  • FIG. 5 is a cross-sectional view of a coupling device and portions of the diverter valve and hose to which the coupling device is attached;
  • FIG. 6 is a cross-sectional view of a container used in the oral hygiene apparatus to hold oral hygiene substance; and
  • FIG. 7 is a cross-sectional view of a jet tip and a portion of a hose coupled thereto.
  • DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS Definitions
  • “And/or” means either or both of the things preceding and succeeding the term.
  • “Coupled” refers to joining of two parts of the disclosed apparatus, whether directly or indirectly through one or more intermediate elements and/or coupling mechanisms.
  • “Coupled in communication” means that two parts are joined so that passages defined by the parts are contiguously defined to permit the flow of water or liquid mixture from one part to the other part.
  • General System and Method
  • In FIG. 1 the apparatus 10 comprises a diverter valve 12, a container 14, coupling devices 16, 18, a hose 20, and a jet tip 22. The diverter valve 12 is coupled to faucet 24 and receives a flow of water therefrom. The faucet 24 defines a threaded spout 240 to which the diverter valve 12 is threaded. Extending outwardly from its main body, the diverter valve 12 has a stem 120 that is normally biased at a first position that couples internal passages of the diverter valve together in communication to channel water flow from the faucet through the valve to exit at the valve's main orifice 122 in a flow of water 24. The stem 120 can be moved outwardly to a second position that changes the coupling of internal passages within the diverter valve to cause the water flow to be diverted to exit the valve 12 at the outlet member 124. The coupling device 16 is coupled in communication with the diverter valve 12 and the container 14 so that water can flow from the diverter valve to the container 14. More specifically, the outlet member 124 is coupled to inlet member 146 of the container's cap 140 to permit transfer of water from the valve to the container.
  • The container 14 comprises cap portion 140 and containment portion 142. The cap portion 140 can be screwed onto threads in the neck (not shown in FIG. 1) of the containment portion 142. The containment portion 142 can contain oral hygiene substance 144. The substance 144 can comprise a mouthwash such as those sold under the SCOPE® or LISTERINE® trademarks. As another option, the substance 144 can comprise fluoride or other oral treatment. As yet another option, the substance 144 can comprise sodium bicarbonate or other relatively soft fine or powdered material that has a hardness less than that of teeth to avoid their damage. Such material should be capable of being carried in a stream of water, preferably in un-dissolved or partially dissolved form to enhance its ability to clean teeth. Furthermore, the substance 144 can comprise a water-thinned toothpaste, for example. Such thinning renders the toothpaste less viscous to avoid blockage of internal passages of the apparatus 10.
  • The substance 144 mixes with water from the inlet member 146 to form a mixture that flows out from the container 14 through the outlet member 148. The liquid mixture flows from the container 14 through the coupling device 18 to the hose 20. The coupling device 18 is thus coupled in communication with the container 14 and the hose 20 to permit flow of the liquid mixture from the container to the hose. The hose 20 comprises a coupler 200 terminating one end of the hose, that permits the hose 20 to be coupled in communication with the coupler 18. The liquid mixture can thus flow from the container 14 through the coupling device 18 and the coupler 200 into the hose 20. The liquid mixture travels through the hose 20 to its opposite end. This end of the hose 20 is force-fitted over an end of the jet tip 22 to abut with the jet tip's grip 220 so that the hollow interior of the hose communicates with the hollow interior of the jet tip. The jet tip 22 is angled at bend 224 and has an interior passage that is relatively wide where it couples to the hose 20, and that is relatively narrow at aperture 222 at the opposite end of the jet tip 22. Due to the fact that the aperture 222 defined in the jet tip 22 is relatively narrow as compared to its opposite grip end at which the hose is attached, the velocity of the liquid mixture entering the jet tip at the grip end significantly increases in velocity as it moves through the jet tip to the relatively narrow aperture 222 at the end of the jet tip. Spray jet 26 emitted by the jet tip 22 thus has a relatively high-velocity for forceful action to clean away debris or other accumulation such as tartar, plaque or the like from the teeth and gums of the user. The angle or bend 224 of the jet tip 22 provides a configuration that is relatively ergonomic in that it allows the user to grip the jet tip at grip 220 in a natural manner while the angling of the jet tip at bend 224 permits the jet tip to be used to direct the spray jet directly against the teeth and gums for cleaning.
  • The diverter valve 12 can be comprised of an assembly of metal, metal alloy and/or plastic parts. The container 14, coupling devices 16, 18, coupler 20, and jet tip 22 can be comprised of metal, metal alloy, plastic and/or other materials. The hose 20 can be composed of flexible plastic or rubber tubing, for example.
  • The temperature of the water used to generate the spray jet 26 can be controlled in the normal manner using hot and cold water controls 242, 244 of faucet 24 to control the proportion of hot and cold water in the water flow. This makes the spray jet 26 comfortable in use against teeth and gums, which can relatively sensitive to temperatures significantly different from body temperature.
  • Referring now to FIG. 2, diverter valve 12 comprises an assembly of several parts. These parts include lower casing 125, screen retainer 126, screen 127, diffuser retainer 128, diffuser 129, resilient washer 130, body 131, collar 132, passage definer 133, O-ring 134, threaded extension 135, resilient washer 136, valve stem parts 120 a, 120 b, O-ring 137, rigid washer 138, and spring 139. These parts are assembled together in the following manner. The lower casing 125 is cylinder-like with a tapered configuration that is relatively wide at the top and relatively narrow at the bottom defining the main orifice 122. The casing 125 receives and holds the screen retainer 126 at its lower end. A screen 127 is inserted into the retainer 126 which has an annular lower ledge that supports the screen. The diffuser retainer 128 fits inside the screen retainer 126 and is supported by an annular ledge defined therein. The diffuser retainer 128 receives and holds the diffuser 129. The diffuser 129 defines multiple passages to diffuse the water flow received on one side into a relatively large number of smaller water flows. Resilient washer 130 is composed of rubber or other resilient material. The lower casing 122 with encased parts 126, 127, 128, 129, 130 has threads which are joined with corresponding threads defined at the lower end of body 131. The collar 132 is screwed onto the body 131 on a side thereof that is opposite the casing 125 and parts 126-130. The passage definer 133 is driven into the body 131 so that the aperture 150 is located near bore 152 defined in the main body 131. As so positioned, the aperture 150 is positioned in close proximity to the end of the valve stem part 120 a. The O-ring 134 fits on the end of the passage definer 133 and the extension 135 is threaded into corresponding threads of the collar 132 to engage with and compress the O-ring 134 between a rim at the top of the passage definer 133 and the end of the extension 135 to form a watertight fit that permits water to travel only through the interior of the extension 135 and passage definer 133. The resilient washer 136 composed of rubber or the like, is placed on the top edge of the extension 135 and threaded to the spout 240 of the faucet 24 to form a water-tight seal therebetween.
  • The valve assembly includes a valve stem part 120 a over which the O-ring 137 is slid. The O-ring 137 is composed of resilient rubber or plastic material. Valve stem part 120 a has a relatively wide end and narrow shaft integrally formed therewith. The rigid washer 138 is then fitted over the valve stem 120 a so that the O-ring 137 is retained by the relatively wide end of the part 120 a on one side, and the washer 138 on the other side. The O-ring 137 functions to obstruct one passage or another within the body 131, depending upon the position of the valve assembly, to channel water either through the main orifice 122 defined by the lower casing 122 or through side orifice 154 defined by the outlet member 124. The part 120 a is further inserted through the spring 139, into the bore 152 defined in the body 131, and out of the bore 153 defined on the opposite side of such body. The end of the part 120 a defines threads that mate with corresponding threads inside a hole in the part 120 b. To complete the diverter valve assembly, the outlet member 124 is threaded into corresponding threads defined by the body 131 at the bore 152. The outer end of the outlet member 154 defines a hollow interior that is threaded to receive corresponding threads at the end of the coupling device 16. The opposite end of the coupling device 16 can be attached to the outlet member of the cap portion 140 by applying finger pressure to the spring-loaded levers 161, 162 to squeeze them together, sliding the hollow end 165 of the device 16 over the inlet member 146 of the cap portion 140, and releasing the levers 161, 162. The locking ends of the levers 161, 162 are thus positioned in annular groove portion 145 of the inlet member 146 to releasably lock the coupling device 16 to the cap portion 140. As so attached, an interior passage in the coupling device 16 extending from the aperture 163 to the aperture 165 communicates with the interior of the container 14 by a passage extending from aperture 143 through the inlet member. To ensure water-tight engagement of the coupling device 16 to the inlet member 146, the inlet member has an O-ring 141 that engages with the inner surfaces of coupling device 16 and the outer surface of the inlet member 146. The inlet member 146 extends inside of the cap portion 140 and communicates with the interior thereof.
  • The cap portion 140 can be joined to the containment portion 142 via threads 149 defined in the neck 147 of the containment portion and corresponding threads defined in the inner surfaces of the cap portion 140. The outlet member 148 communicates with the interior of the cap portion 140 and defines a threaded aperture 155. An end 187 of the coupling device 18 is threaded and can be joined with corresponding threads defined in the aperture 155 of the outlet member 148. The opposite end of the coupling device 18 can be joined to the coupler 200 in a manner similar to that previously described with respective to the coupling device 16 and the inlet member 146. In this case, however, rather than forming the annular ring 141 with an O-ring, the coupler 200 can be an integral device molded from plastic, for example, that is provided with an annular ridge 203 extending around the circumference of the end 201 of the coupler 200. This annular ridge 203 forms a water-tight seal between the coupler 18 and the coupler 200 upon joining these components together. The end 202 of the coupler 200 has a series of frusto-conical surfaces that can be inserted into the end 204 of the hose 20. The frusto-conical surfaces engage with the inner surfaces of the hose 20 to from a water tight seal between the coupler and the hose. The coupler 200 defines an internal passage extending from aperture 205 to aperture 206 so that the liquid mixture supplied through the coupler 18 passes through the coupler 200 into the hose 20. The hose 20 guides liquid mixture to the hose's opposite end 207. The opposite end 207 force-fits over the base end 226 of the jet tip 22 to abut with the grip 220. The circumferential groove 227 defined in the jet tip 22 affords additional friction of the hose 20 to the base end 226 so that these elements cannot be readily pulled apart. The jet tip 22 defines a passage 229 extension from the aperture at base end 226 to the aperture 222 at tip end 228. The jet tip 22 can thus channel liquid mixture form the hose 20 through the passage 229 through the aperture 222 at the tip end 228. The passage 229 is defined so as to narrow along the extent of the jet tip 22 from the base end 226 to the end 228 so that the velocity of the flow increases and renders a forceful spray jet 26.
  • Turning now to FIG. 3 further detail as to the configuration of the parts composing the diverter valve 20 and their assembly are shown. The operating of the valve stem assembly and how it can be used to divert water flow to different passages defined by the valve 20 is now described. The spring 138 biases the interior end of the valve stem 120 and O-ring 137 against the interior aperture of the outlet member 214, thus blocking water flow through the passage 440 defined in the interior of the outlet member 124. Water flow from faucet 24 moves through passage 299 defined by parts 132-136, through the aperture 150 defined in the passage definer 133, and further through passage 300 defined by parts 122 and 126-131 to exit at the valve's main orifice 122. Along this path, the water flow is rendered diffuse by the part 129 and screen 127 to form a desirable flow of water from the valve 20.
  • If the valve 120 is moved to the right in FIG. 3 so that the passage 300 is blocked by the washer 138 and O-ring 137, water from passage 299 of the valve 12 flows through the aperture 150 defined in the passage definer 133 and further through the passage 440 of the outlet member 124 to exit the valve and enter the coupling device 16. Thus, by pulling the valve stem 120 outwardly, a user can activate the apparatus 100 to deliver a cleansing spray jet 26 for oral hygiene.
  • FIG. 4 shows the coupling device 16 and parts of the diverter valve's outlet member 124 and the inlet member 146 of the container's cap portion 140. The coupling device 16 generally comprises an inner cylinder 402, outer cylinder 404, plates 406 a, 406 b, 408 a, 408 b, pivot pins 410, 412, and springs 414, 416. The inner cylinder 402 is positioned inside of outer cylinder 404 to define an annular space 409 between the cylinders for receiving the inlet member 146. The inner cylinder 402 defines an inner passage 442 through which water 24 flows. One end 418 of the outer cylinder 404 is substantially closed at its end but defines an aperture 419 through which extends the inner cylinder 402. The inner and outer cylinders 402, 404 can be joined by an adhesive or fused by heat treatment, for example, to form a joint 406 between the cylinders. The inlet end 167 of the inner cylinder 146 is threaded on its outer surface to join with corresponding threads 411 on the inner surface of the outlet member 124. Upon sufficient rotation of the coupling device 16 relative to the outlet member 124, the closed end 418 of the outer cylinder 404 meets with the end 420 of the outlet member 124 so that these elements are engaged together.
  • The outer surface of the outer cylinder 404 supports plates 406 a, 406 b, 408 a, 408 b. Plates 406 a, 406 b and 408 a, 408 b have edges joined to the outer surface of the outer cylinder 404 and are arranged in a spaced, opposing relationship to one another. Between such plates 406 a, 406 b, 408 a, 408 b extend respective pins 410, 412 that have ends support by such plates. The pins 410, 412 extend through respective levers 161, 162 so that the levers can pivot about such pins. The springs 414, 416 are situated on respective posts 422, 428 of the levers 161, 162 and respective posts 426, 428 extending from the outer surfaces of the cylinder 404. The springs 414, 416 bias respective levers 161, 162 so that the ends 430, 432 extend into respective holes 434, 436 defined in the outer cylinder's outer surface. As so positioned, the locking ends 430, 432 extend inside of the outer cylinder 404 within the annular groove 438 defined in the outer portion 400 of the inlet member 146. The ends 430, 432 thus lock the inlet member 146 to the coupling device 16. In this locked configuration, the O-ring 141 forms an annular ridge at the end of the inlet member 400 that engages with the inner surface of the outer cylinder 404 to form a liquid-tight seal and to align the inner cylinder's passage 442 with the passage 446 of the inlet member 146. Accordingly, the passage 442 defined by the inner surface of the inner cylinder 402 communicates with the passage 446 defined in the inlet member 146. In this configuration, water 24 can flow from the diverter valve's outlet member 124 through the coupling device 16 to the container's inlet member 146 via communicating passages 440, 442, 446 defined in these elements. To couple or decouple the inlet member 146 from the coupling device 16, a user can apply finger pressure to the levers 161, 162 to push them together against force exerted by the springs 414, 416 so that the ends 430, 432 move out of the annular groove 438, thus permitting the coupling device to be joined or separated from the inlet member 146 as desired. Releasing finger pressure on the levers 161, 162 allows the springs 414, 416 to force the locking ends 430, 432 into the annular groove 438 of the inlet member 146 to releasably lock the coupling device 16 to the inlet member 146.
  • In FIG. 5 the coupling device 18 is substantially the same as the coupling device 16, although it is joined to different parts of the apparatus 100. The coupling device 18 generally comprises an inner cylinder 502, outer cylinder 504, plates 506 a, 506 b, 508 a, 508 b, pivot pins 510, 512, and springs 514, 516. The inner cylinder 502 is positioned inside of outer cylinder 504, and extends through an aperture 506 in the closed end 518 thereof. The outer surface of the inner cylinder 502 is joined to the surfaces of the closed end 518 defining the aperture 506 with an adhesive or by fusing these elements together. The outer surface of the inner cylinder 502 and the inner surface of the outer cylinder 502 thus define an annular space 509 to receive inlet portion 500 of the coupler 200. The inlet end 187 of the coupling device 18 has threads that are joined with those of the outlet member 148 by rotating the coupling device relative to the outlet member until closed end 518 meets with end surface 520 of the outlet member. Plates 506 a, 506 b, and 508 a, 508 b are attached to the outer surface of the outer cylinder 504 on opposite sides thereof. The plates 506 a, 506 b and 508 a, 508 b are attached to the outer cylinder 504 in a spaced opposing relationship. Levers 181, 182 are positioned between respective plates 506 a, 506 b and 508 a, 508 b, and are pivotally supported by respective pivot pins 510, 512 that extend through the opposing plates 506 a, 506 b and 508 a, 508 b and have ends fixed thereto. The springs 514, 516 have ends fixed on respective posts 522, 524 of levers 181, 182 and opposite ends fixed on respective posts 526, 528 extending from the outer surface of the outer cylinder 504. The levers 181, 182 are thus biased so that the locking ends 530, 532 of the levers 181, 182 are positioned in holes 534, 536 defined on opposite sides of the outer cylinder 504. Accordingly, the locking ends 530, 532 extend into the interior space of the outer cylinder 504 where they are situated in annular groove 538 defined in the inlet portion 500 of the coupler 200. The inlet portion 500 of the coupler 200 can thus be secured to the coupling device 16. In this position, the annular ridge 203 of the coupler 200 engages with the inner surface of the outer cylinder 504 to align the inner so that the inner surface of the inner cylinder 502 and inner surface of coupler 200 defining respective passages 542, 544 are aligned to permit passage of the liquid mixture 26. The liquid mixture 26 can thus travel through passages 540, 542, 544, 546 defined in the outlet member 148, the coupling device 18, the coupler 200, and the hose 20.
  • If it is desired to decouple or insert the coupler 200 into the coupling device 18, the user applies finger pressure to squeeze levers 181, 182 against the force applied by springs 514, 516 toward the outer surface of the outer cylinder 404. This squeezing action causes the levers 530, 532 to pivot about respective pins 510, 512 so that the locking ends 530, 532 retract from the annular groove 538 of the coupler 200. The levers 181, 182 are thus positioned as shown in broken line in FIG. 5. As so positioned, the coupler 200 can be freely inserted into or extracted from the coupling device 18. Releasing finger pressure on the levers 181, 182 allows the springs 514, 516 to force the locking ends 530, 532 into the annular groove 538 of the coupler 200 to releasably lock the coupling device 18 to the coupler.
  • FIG. 6 shows the cap portion 140 of the container 14 joined to the containment portion 142. The cap portion 140 can be cylindrical in shape, for example. The cap portion 140 can be removed from the containment portion 150 by twisting the cap portion relative to the containment portion 142. Threads 157 defined in the inner surface of the cap portion 140 move in contact with intermeshing threads 149 defined in the neck 147 of the container 14 until the threads clear one another so that the containment portion 142 can be separated from the cap portion 142. Oral hygiene substance 144 can then be poured or transferred into container 14 via aperture 609 in the neck 147. The cap portion 140 is then twisted onto the containment portion 142 to enclose substances 144 therein.
  • The cap portion 140 comprises inlet member 146 and outlet member 148. The components of the member 146 on its outer portion 500 have been previously described. These components comprises the annular groove 146 defined in the outer surface of the inlet member 146, the O-ring 141, the orifice 143 defined at the end of the outer portion 500, and the passage 446 defined internally in the inlet member 146. The inlet member 146 also comprises an interior portion 600 that defines an aperture 601 of the passage 446 that communicates with the interior space 608 of the container 14. Water 24 from the valve 20 and coupling device 16 can thus travel to the interior space 608 of the container 14. Inside of the container 14 the water 24 mixes with oral hygiene substance 144 to form liquid mixture 26. The outlet member 148 has an interior portion 602 that defines aperture 603 permitting the passage 540 defined by the outlet member to communicate with interior space 608 of the container 14. The flow of water 24 from the inlet member 146 into the container 14 eventually fills the container so that the liquid mixture 26 resulting from mixing of the water 24 and oral hygiene substance 144 passes through the orifice 603 through the passage 540 defined in the outlet member 148 to exit the container at orifice 155 of the outlet member.
  • FIG. 7 shows the jet tip 22 and a portion of the hose 20 coupled thereto. The hose end 207 is stretched open and slid over the base end 226 of the jet tip 22 to abut with the grip 220 that acts as a stop for the hose. Due to its resilience, the hose 20 relaxes in the groove 227 to enhance friction between the jet tip 22 and the hose 20 to prevent their inadvertent separation. The passage 546 defined by the hose 20 communicates through the aperture 231 with the passage 700 defined in the jet tip 22 to permit the liquid mixture 26 to pass through the jet tip 22 from aperture 222 in a spray jet 26. A user of the apparatus 10 grips the jet tip 22 with a hand and directs the spray jet 26 to the user's teeth and/or gums. If the substance 144 in the liquid mixture 26 is a mouthwash, the spray jet 26 acts on the teeth and/or gums to destroy microbes and freshen the breath. If the substance 144 in the liquid mixture 144 is fluoride or other oral treatment, it is applied to the user's teeth by the jet tip 22 and is absorbed by the teeth for their strengthening. If the substance 144 is sodium bicarbonate or other soft material, the spray jet 26 directs such material against the teeth and gums to clean away plaque, tartar or other debris. The material in the spray jet 26 is directed against the teeth and gums with sufficient velocity to thoroughly clean them, yet with insufficient velocity to abrade or otherwise damage the teeth or soft tissues of the mouth.
  • The many features and advantages of the present invention are apparent from the detailed specification and thus, it is intended by the appended claims to cover all such features and advantages of the described apparatuses which follow in the true spirit and scope of the invention. Further, since numerous modifications and changes will readily occur to those of ordinary skill in the art, it is not desired to limit the invention to the exact construction and operation illustrated and described. Accordingly, all suitable modifications and equivalents may be resorted to as falling within the scope of the invention.

Claims (2)

1. A coupling device for coupling respective passages of first and second elements in communication with one another, the coupling device comprising:
an inner cylinder defining a passage;
an outer cylinder surrounding a first portion of the inner cylinder, the outer cylinder having a closed wall defining an aperture through which a second portion of the inner cylinder extends, the second portion of the inner cylinder having threads defined on an outer surface thereof, the threads of the inner cylinder capable of joining with threads defined in an inner surface defining the passage of the first element so that the passage of the inner cylinder communicates with the passage of the first element;
first and second pairs of spaced plates positioned on opposite sides of the outer cylinder;
first and second levers positioned between respective first and second pairs of plates;
first and second pins extending through respective first and second levers and having ends supported by the first and second pairs of plates, the first and second levers pivotally mounted to the first and second pairs of plates by respective first and second pins;
first and second springs having respective first ends fixed to respective first and second levers, and second ends fixed to the outer surface of the outer cylinder, the first and second springs biasing respective first and second levers so that the locking ends thereof extend into apertures defined in the outer surface of the outer cylinder to engage with an annular groove of the second element positioned between the inner and outer cylinders so that the passage of the second element communicates with the passage of the inner cylinder, the first and second elements thereby capable of being releasably locked together by the coupling device so that their respective passages communicate with one another.
2. An apparatus as claimed in claim 1 wherein the first and second springs have respective first and second ends fixed to respective posts defined in the first and second levers and the outer surface of the outer cylinder.
US11/010,064 2001-03-30 2004-12-10 Coupling device for security coupling first and second elements Abandoned US20050101894A1 (en)

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US11/010,064 US20050101894A1 (en) 2001-03-30 2004-12-10 Coupling device for security coupling first and second elements

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USD825741S1 (en) 2016-12-15 2018-08-14 Water Pik, Inc. Oral irrigator handle
USD832418S1 (en) 2016-12-15 2018-10-30 Water Pik, Inc. Oral irrigator base
USD832420S1 (en) 2016-12-15 2018-10-30 Water Pik, Inc. Oral irrigator base
USD832419S1 (en) 2016-12-15 2018-10-30 Water Pik, Inc. Oral irrigator unit
USD822825S1 (en) 2016-12-15 2018-07-10 Water Pik, Inc. Oral irrigator unit
USD833600S1 (en) 2016-12-15 2018-11-13 Water Pik, Inc. Oral irrigator reservoir
USD829886S1 (en) 2016-12-15 2018-10-02 Water Pik, Inc. Oral irrigator base
USD840022S1 (en) 2016-12-15 2019-02-05 Water Pik, Inc. Oral irrigator handle
USD834180S1 (en) 2016-12-15 2018-11-20 Water Pik, Inc. Oral irrigator base
USD822826S1 (en) 2016-12-15 2018-07-10 Water Pik, Inc. Oral irrigator base
USD839409S1 (en) 2016-12-15 2019-01-29 Water Pik, Inc. Oral irrigator unit
USD833601S1 (en) 2017-02-06 2018-11-13 Water Pik, Inc. Oral irrigator
USD829887S1 (en) 2017-02-06 2018-10-02 Water Pik, Inc. Oral irrigator reservoir
USD833602S1 (en) 2017-02-06 2018-11-13 Water Pik, Inc. Oral irrigator base

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US20020142262A1 (en) 2002-10-03
US6835181B2 (en) 2004-12-28

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