Toothbrush holder

Abstract

Claims

3. A DISPOSABLE TOOTHBRUSH HOLDER COMPRISING A BODY PORTION HAVING AN UPWARDLY FACING SURFACE WITH A PLURALITY OF OPENINGS THEREIN, A FIRST GROUP OF SAID OPENINGS BEING CLOSED BY TABS HINGEDLY AND RESILIENTLY SECURED TO SAID BODY PORTION AT THE EDGES OF SAID OPENINGS AND EXTENDING INWARDLY OF SAID OPENINGS TOWARD THE CENTER THEREOF, A SECOND GROUP OF SAID OPENINGS, RESPECTIVELY, COMMUNICATING WITH RECESSES WHICH DEPEND INTO SAID BODY PORTION FROM SAID BODY PORTION SURFACE, SAID RECESSES EACH BEING OPEN AT THE TOP AND HAVING A FLAT AND GENERALLY HORIZONTAL BOTTOM AND UPSTANDING SIDES, SAID RECESS BOTTOMS HAVING OPENINGS THEREIN, RESPECTIVELY, WHICH ARE CLOSED BY TABS HINGEDLY AND RESILIENTLY SECURED TO SAID RECESS SIDES AND EXTENDING INWARDLY OF THE LAST-MENTIONED OPENINGS TOWARD THE CENTER THEREOF, ALL OF SAID TABS BEING RESILIENTLY MOVABLE
Oct. 3, 1967 R. G. MERKEL TOOTHBRUSH HOLDER C5 Sheets-Sheet 1 Filed June 10, 1965 INVENTOR RALPH e. MERKEL ZQ JLM+ ATTORNEYS 1967 R. G. MERKEL 3,344,930 TOOTHBRUSH HOLDER Filed June 10, 1965 5 Sheets-Sheet 2 INVENTOR RALPH G. MERKEL ATTORNEYS Oct. 3, 1967 R. G. MERKEL TOOTHBRUSH HOLDER 5 Sheets-Sheet 3 Filed June 10, 1965 INVENTOR RALPH G. MERKEL BY M ATTORNEYS United States Patent 3,344,930 TOOTHBRUSH HOLDER Ralph G. Merkel, 2629 Florida Drive, Fort Wayne, Ind. 46305 Filed June 10, 1965, Ser. No. 462,866 6 Claims. (Cl. 211-65) The present invention relates to a disposable toothbrush holder, and more particularly, to a disposable toothbrush holder which has a horizontally disposed tray portion for holding a tube of toothpaste and an upright body portion for holding a plurality of toothbrushes. Toothbrushes have long been an item which is personal to the user and which desirably should not be contaminated by contact with other objects. Tourists and guests at hotels and motels have long found it a problem to maintain their toothbrushes free from contamination, and at the same time, to allow their toothbrushes to dry between usage. Patients in hospitals experience similar problems as usually no special provision is available for day-to-day storage of toothbrushes. Toothbrushes kept in closed containers have been found not to dry sufficiently between uses, and the use of wet and soft toothbrushes is not entirely satisfactory from a medical standpoint and causes increased wear of the bristles of the toothbrushes. It is therefor desirable to provide an improved toothbrush holder which holds the toothbrush apart from other brushes in a manner exposing the bristles to the arr. Prior toothbrush holders have been of the type which have a plate portion with a plurality of holes therein of a size that will permit the handle portion of the toothbrush to pass, but not the brush portion, whereby a toothbrush can be held by the plate by the insertion of the handle of the toothbrush through one of the openings. These devices have not been entirely satisfactory as the brush portion of the toothbrush is in contact with the plate portion which may not be free from contamination itself. Further, several prior toothbrush holders have been unstable thereby being easily tipped over and thereby contaminating the brushes. Therefore, it is further desirable to provide an improved toothbrush holder which holds the toothbrush by the handle portion with the brush portion spaced apart from the toothbrush holder which is stable and does not permit the toothbrush holder to be easily tipped over. It has always been desirable that any toothbrush holder may be easily cleaned so that the toothbrush holder could be provided free from contamination. However, it has not been uncommon to find toothbrush holders which are not cleaned readily; and therefore, it is highly desirable to provide a toothbrush holder which can be inexpensively manufactured and thereby rendered disposable whereby a toothbrush holder can be sterilized and provided for a limited use and disposed of whenever it becomes contaminated. Therefore, it is an object of this invention to provide an improved toothbrush holder which can be inexpensive 1y manufactured and thereby be disposable whenever it becomes contaminated. Another object of this invention is to provide an improved toothbrush holder which can hold a plurality of toothbrushes uprightly and with the brush portions spaced apart from the toothbrush holder. Still another object of this invention is to provide an improved toothbrush holder which is relatively stable even when unattached to another object whereby the toothbrush holder cannot be easily tipped over thereby contaminating the brushes held thereby. A further object of this invention is to provide an improved toothbrush holder which can hold a plurality of toothbrushes spaced apart from each other and exposed to the air and which can be relatively inexpensively made in a sterile condition whereby the toothbrush holder is disposable whenever the toothbrush holder becomes contaminated. Still further an object of this invention is to provide an improved and disposable toothbrush holder which can hold a plurality of toothbrushes upright and spaced apart from each other and which is relatively stable and only tipped over with difficulty. The above-mentioned and other features and objects of this invention and the manner of attaining them will become more apparent and the invention itself will be best understood by reference to the following description of an embodiment of the invention taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, wherein: FIG. 1 is a front view of the improved toothbrush holder of this invention showing a variety of types and sizes of conventional toothbrushes being held therein; FIG. 2 is an end view of the improved toothbrush holder of this invention, partially broken away, showing a conventional toothbrush being held in one of the recesses of the holder and illustrating a conventional tube of toothpaste lying in the tray portion of the toothbrush holder; FIG. 3 is a top view of the improved toothbrush holder of this invention illustrating the toothbrush holding openings in the top surface thereof and a conventional tube of toothpaste lying in the tray portion thereof; FIG. 4 is a rear view of the improved toothbrush holder of this invention, partially broken away, showing two of the toothbrush holding openings and one of the recesses of the holder; FIG. 5 is a sectional view of the improved toothbrush holder of this invention illustrated in FIGS. 1 through 4 taken substantially along the section line 55 of FIG. 4; and FIG. 6 is a cross-sectional View of the improved toothbrush holder of this invention illustrated in FIG. 3 taken substantially along the section line 6-6. In the broader aspects of this invention there is provided a disposable toothbrush holder comprising a base having an integral tray portion and an upstanding body portion. The tray portion is provided with an elongated cavity therein which has an opening in the top and opposite ends. The body portion extends upwardly beyond the tray portion and has an upwardly facing and generally horizontal surface which has a plurality of spaced apart openings therein through which the handles of conventional toothbrushes can be inserted and held therein. I Referring to the drawings, there is shown the improved toothbrush holder of this invention generally comprising a hollow base 10 having a bottom edge 12 on which the base 10 rests, a horizontally disposed and integral tray portion 14, and an upstanding and integral body portion 16. Body 10, in one specific embodiment illustrated in the drawings, is made of an inexpensive sheet or film of plastic which can be vacuum formed into a single piece having the shape that is shown with-all of the walls and sides be- .ing self-supporting. Base 10 made of polyethylene having a dimension of one thirty-second of an inch for the wall thickness has proven to be satisfactory. Tray portion 14 has an elongated cavity 18 therein which is defined by a bottom 20 and upstanding side walls 22, 24 and end walls 26, 28, respectively. Bottom 20 is spaced apart from bottom edge 12 of the base 10 and the side walls 22, 24 extend upwardly a distance greater than the end walls 26, 28. Cavity 18 thereby has an open top 30 and opposite open ends 32, 34. Body portion 16 extends upwardly beyond the tray portion 14 and has an upwardly facing surface 36 which is generally horizontal and elevated above the tray portion 14. Extending between the body portion surface 36 and the bottom edge 12 of the body are side walls 38 and 40 and opposite end walls 42 and 44, which define the body portion 16. Side wall 38 is a continuation of side wall 22 of cavity 18 and the tray portion 14, and end walls 42 and 44 are continuations of end walls 26 and 28 of the cavity 18 and the tray portion 14. Surface 36 has a plurality of spaced apart openings 46 therein. Openings 46 are aligned in a row which extends in a direction which is generally parallel with the longitudinal direction of the cavity 18 of the tray portion 14. In the specific embodiment of this invention shown in the figures, surface 36 has four openings 46 therein. A first group of openings 46a, these openings being the two interior openings 46 of the specific embodiment illustrated in the figures, are generally rectangular in shape and defined by opposite peripheral side edges 48 and 50 and opposite peripheral end edges 52 and 54, and are closed by tabs 56 and 58 secured to the side edges 48 and 50, respectively, and tabs 60 and 62 secured to the end edges 52 and 54, respectively (see FIG. 3). Tabs 56 through 62 are both resilient and hingedly secured to body portion 10 and extend inwardly toward the center of the last-mentioned two openings 46. A second group of and the remaining openings 46, these openings being the outer two openings 46 of the specific embodiment illustrated in the figures, communicate with recesses 64 which depend from the surface 36 into the body portion 10. Each of the recesses 64 has an open top 66 coincident with an opening 46, a fiat and generally horizontal bottom 68, and upstanding sides 70. Recess bottom 68 has an opening 72 therein which is in registry with and of the same size and shape as opening 46 in the surface 36 of the body 10. Opening 72 is closed by tabs 74, 76, 78 and 80 which are resiliently and hingedly secured to the walls 70 of the recesses 64. Thus, bot toms 68 of the recesses 64 are generally defined by the tabs 74 through 80. In the specific embodiment illustrated, openings 72 in the bottoms 68 and the openings 46 in the surface 36 are generally rectangular in shape and the recesses 64 have a generally rectangular cross-section. Side walls 70, in this specific embodiment, have, therefore, side walls portions 82 and 84 which face eachother and oppositely facing end walls portions 86 and 88 to which the tabs 74 through 80, respectively, are secured as above-mentioned. Tabs 74 and 76 are of the generally same shape and size as tabs 56 and 58 aforementioned, and tabs 78 and 80 are of the same general size and shape as the tabs 60 and 62 aforementioned. In a different embodiment of this invention, the well or recess structure 64, 70 is omitted, leaving the rectangular openings 46, 66 in the surface 36. In operation, the toothbrush holder of this invention can be positioned on any relatively fiat surface and will hold a plurality of toothbrushes in an upright position with the bristles spaced apart from the toothbrush holder itself and exposed to the air. Thus, the brushes cannot become contaminated by contact with any part of the toothbrush holder and the bristles are allowed to dry between uses. The bottom of the toothbrush holder is relatively broad and thereby renders the toothbrush holder of this invention relatively stable in the upright position illustrated in the drawings. Further adding to the stability of the toothbrush holder of this invention is the provision of the tray portion 14 which has a cavity 18 therein. By positioning a conventional tube of toothpaste in the cavity 18, suflicient weight is added to the toothbrush holder of this invention at a position adjacent the bottom edge 12 to lower the center of gravity to a position such that the toothbrush holder of this invention is rendered highly stable in the upright position as shown. As above-mentioned, the toothbrushes are held by the toothbrush holder of this invention in a position such that the bristles of the brushes are spaced from the surface 4 36 of the body 10, and exposed to the air. The brushes are placed in holding position by inserting the handle portion of the brushes through the openings 46, 46a in the surface 36 of the body 10. By urging the brush handles through the openings 46, 72, the tabs 48 through 60 or the tabs 74 through 80, whichever may be the case, are urged apart and the toothbrushes will be resiliently held by the aforementioned tabs in the upright position illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2 and at any position along the axial length of the handle of the toothbrush. Depending on the cross-sectional size and shape of the handle of the toothbrush, the toothbrush handle will further be contacted either by the sides 70 of the recess 64, or one of the sides 38 and 40 of the upwardly facing portion 16, or a combination thereof. Toothbrushes of all of the commercially available sizes and shapes, including denture brushes and childrens toothbrushes, can be held by the toothbrush holder of this invention. Further, each of these various sizes and shapes of brushes can be held in the toothbrush holder of this invention by tabs 56 through 62 or tabs 74 through in combination with either of the side walls 70, 38 or 40 so that the toothbrushes do not dispose themselves angularly to the surface 36 of the holder and come in contact with adjacent brushes. In the embodiment in which the recess structure 64, 70 is omitted, the handle of the toothbrush is merely inserted through the opening 46, 66. This opening is of such size as to provide clearance around the handle thereby loose- 1y retaining the toothbrush in place. The height of the body portion 16 is such that the distal end of the handle rests on the surface supporting the body portion 16 with the brush portion spaced above the surface 36. Contamination of the bristles from contact with the surface 36 is thereby avoided. New and unused units 10 preferably are provided with a sanitary covering for the openings 46 in the form of pressure sensitive plastic tape or film adhered to the sur face 36. This tape is retained in place until just prior to use of the unit 10 at which time it is merely withdrawn leaving the openings 46 exposed. While there have been described above the principles of this invention in connection with specific apparatus, it is to be clearly understood that this description is made only by way of example and not as a limitation to the scope of the invention. What is claimed is: 1. A disposable toothbursh holder of integral construction and made of thin wall self-supporting plastic comprising a hollow base having a bottom, a horizontally disposed and integral tray portion and an upstanding and integral body portion, said tray portion having an elongated cavity therein, said cavity being defined by a bottom and upstanding side and end walls, said cavity bottom being spaced from the bottom of said base, said side walls upstanding a distance greater than said end walls whereby said cavity is open at the top and opposite ends thereof, said body portion extending upwardly beyond said tray portion and having an upwardly facing and generally horizontal surface elevated above said tray portion, said body portion surface having a plurality of spaced apart openings therein aligned in a row, the direction of said row being generally parallel with the longitudinal direction of said cavity in said tray portion, a first group of said openings being closed by tabs hingedly and resiliently secured to said body portion at the edges of said openings and extending inwardly of said openings toward the center thereof, a second group of said openings, respectively, communicating with recesses which depend into said body portion from said body portion surface, said recesses each being open at the top and having a fiat and generally horizontal bottom and upstanding sides, said recess bottoms having openings therein, respectively, which are closed by tabs hingedly and resiliently secured to said recess sides and extending inwardly of the lastmentioned openings toward the center thereof, all of said tabs being resiliently movable into an open position when an object is inserted through said openings, said tabs resiliently holding the object therebetween when an object is positioned in said openings. 2. The toothbrush holder of claim 1 wherein there are four openings in said body portion surface and two of said recesses. 3. A disposable toothbrush holder comprising a body portion having an upwardly facing surface with a plurality of openings therein, a first group of said openings being closed by tabs hingedly and resiliently secured to said body portion at the edges of said openings and extending inwardly of said openings toward the center thereof, a second group of said openings, respectively, communicating with recesses which depend into said body portion from said body portion surface, said recesses each being open at the top and having a flat and generally horizontal bottom and upstanding sides, said recess bottoms having openings therein, respectively, which are closed by tabs hingedly and resiliently secured to said recess sides and extending inwardly of the last-mentioned openings toward the center thereof, all of said tabs being resiliently movable into an open position when an object is inserted through said openings, said tabs resiliently holding the object therebetween when an object is positioned in said openings. 4. A disposable toothbrush holder of integral construction and made of thin wall self-supporting plastic comprising a hollow base having a bottom, a horizontally disposed and integral tray portion and an upstanding and integral body portion, said tray portion having an elongated cavity therein, said cavity being defined by a bottom and upstanding side and end walls, said cavity bottom being spaced from the bottom of said base, said side walls upstanding a distance greater than said end walls whereby said cavity is open at the top and opposite ends thereof, said body portion extending upwardly beyond said tray portion, said body portion being defined by upstanding side and end walls and having an upwardly facing and generally horizontal surface elevated above said tray portion, said end walls and one of said side walls of said body portion being continuations of said end walls and one of said side walls of said cavity and tray portion, respectively, said body portion surface having a plurality of spaced apart openings therein aligned in a row, the direction of said row being generally parallel with the longitudinal direction of said cavity in said tray portion, a first group of said openings being closed by taps hingedly and resiliently secured to said body portion at the edges of said openings and extending inwardly of said openings toward the center thereof, a second group of said openings, respectively, communicating with recesses which depend into said body portion from said body portion surface, said recesses each being open at the top and having a flat and generally horizontal bottom and upstanding sides, said recess bottoms having openings therein respectively, which are closed by tabs hingedly and resiliently secured to said recess sides and extending inwardly of the last-mentioned openings toward the center thereof, all of said tabs being resiliently movable into an open position when an object is inserted through said openings, said tabs resiliently holding the object therebetween when an object is positioned in said openings. 5. A disposable toothbrush holder made of thin wall self-supporting material comprising a hollow base having a bottom, a horizontally disposed tray portion and an upstanding body portion, said base, tray and body portion being secured together, said tray portion having an elongated cavity therein, said cavity being defined by a bottom and upstanding side and end walls, said cavity bottom being spaced from the bottom of said base, said side walls upstanding a distance greater than said end walls whereby said cavity is open at the top and opposite ends thereof, said body portion extending upwardly beyond said try portion, said body portion being defined by upstanding side and end walls and having an upwardly facing and generally horizontal surface elevated above said tray portion, said end walls and one of said side walls of said body portion being continuations of said end walls and one of said side walls of said cavity and tray portion, respectively, said body portion surface having a plurality of spaced apart openings therein aligned in a row, the direction of said row being generally parallel with the longitudinal direction of said cavity in said tray portion. 6, A disposable toothbrush holder made of thin wall self-supporting material comprising a hollow base having a bottom, a horizontally disposed tray portion and an upstanding body portion, said base, tray and body portion being secured together, said tray portion having an elongated cavity therein, said cavity being defined by a bottom and upstanding side walls, said body portion extending upwardly beyond said tray portion, said body portion being defined by upstanding side and end Walls and having an upwardly facing and generally horizontal surface elevated above said tray portion, said body portion surface extending continuously between said body portion side and end walls, said body portion surface having a plurality of spaced-apart openings therein aligned in a row, the direction of said row being generally parallel with the longitudinal direction of said cavity, each of said openings having a size smaller than the dimension of said body portion between said side walls. References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS D. 121,526 7/1940 Swartz 4-3 D. 190,467 6/1961 Stansberry 4-3 1,901,583 3/1933 Conway 206-65 2,322,797 6/ 1943 Fishel 211-69 2,813,537 11/1957 Lind 137--353 2,902,145 9/1959 Wagner 20615.1 ROY D. FRAZIER, Primary Examiner. CLAUDE A. LE ROY, Examiner. W. D. LOULAN, Assistant Examiner.

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    US-3877103-AApril 15, 1975Johnson & JohnsonCloth holders and cleaning implements utilizing the same
    US-4770379-ASeptember 13, 1988Estvold Terry LDisposable toothbrush holder
    US-5358127-AOctober 25, 1994Ennis Barry AShaver stand
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