Patent application title: Portable High Capacity Canister Anti-Microbial Towelette Dispenser
Randall P. Mendoza (San Antonio, TX, US)
Lance A. Fitzsimon (San Antonio, TX, US)
IPC8 Class: AB65D8308FI
Class name: Article dispensing concurrent separation and distortion of flexible article (e.g., napkin holders) with casing or support
Publication date: 2012-01-26
Patent application number: 20120018445
A portable, large capacity, canister for containing and dispensing
anti-microbial towelettes to a large number of individuals at a social
gathering, such as a sporting event or a picnic. The large capacity
canister allows for the ready dispensing of anti-microbial towelettes to
a large number of people quickly and conveniently. The canister container
includes a large capacity bucket or pail with a semi-permanently
attachable lid having a centrally positioned lid neck with a cap. A large
quantity roll of towelettes containing a liquid anti-microbial compound
is positioned within the container and a sequence of towelettes from the
towelette roll is fed through a toothed collar in the container lid
beneath the centrally positioned cap. In this manner, a large gathering
of individuals such as a sports team, or a group of individuals at a
picnic, may commonly utilize the dispensing canister in association with
disposal containers positioned nearby. The invention therefore provides a
component and a system for allowing a large number of individuals to gain
the advantage of using anti-microbial wipes so as to eliminate or reduce
the spread of germs as commonly occurs in large social gathering
environments. The towelette canister further includes components such as
a pivoting handle to facilitate the transport of the device to and from
its location of use.
1. A portable, large capacity, canister for containing and dispensing
anti-microbial towelettes to a large number of individuals, the device
comprising: (a) a container body having a closed base and surrounding
walls with an open top defined by a perimeter rim; (b) a lid attachable
to the perimeter rim of the open top of the container body, the lid
further comprising a narrow lid neck extending from a central position on
the lid, the lid neck comprising a closed side wall, open on the bottom
through an aperture to the interior of the container, and open on the top
to the exterior of the container, the lid neck further having a cap sized
to cover the top opening of the lid neck, the cap hinged so as to be
retained in conjunction with the lid upon removal from the lid neck; and
(c) a plurality of towelettes impregnated with an anti-microbial
compound, the plurality of towelettes positioned within the container
body, a first towelette on the interior of the open cylindrical roll
extending from the interior up through the toothed aperture in the lid of
the container so as to be positioned beneath the lid cap ready for
2. The canister of claim 1 wherein the container body comprises a generally cylindrical structure and the plurality of towelettes are constructed into an open cylindrical roll of towelettes having perforations between individual towelettes to facilitate the removal and separation of one towelette from the next.
3. The canister of claim 2 wherein the lid neck further comprises a base defining a radially symmetrical multi-point toothed aperture through which a towelette drawn from the interior of the open cylindrical roll may extend, the toothed aperture serving to facilitate the separation of one towelette from the next as the towelettes are dispensed.
4. The canister of claim 3 wherein an end of a first towelette drawn from the interior of the open cylindrical roll is positioned through the toothed aperture and is thereby retained at a point beneath the lid cap ready to be dispensed when the lid cap is first opened by a user, the placement of the first towelette thus eliminating the need for the user to remove the attached lid from the container body.
5. The canister of claim 4 further comprising a removable/breakable seal extending between the lid cap and a top surface of the lid adjacent the lid neck.
6. The canister of claim 1 wherein the anti-microbial compound comprises a non-alcohol based solution.
7. The canister of claim 6 wherein the anti-microbial compound comprises: 0.05-0.5% (w/v) Benzalkonium Chloride; 0.05-0.5% (w/v) Hymine (Benzethonium Chloride); 0.10-5.0% (w/v) Methylparaben; 0.01-0.5% (w/v) Propylparaben; 0.10-5.0% (w/v) Lanolin PEG 60; 0.10-5.0% (w/v) Aloe Barbadensis; and further wherein the components are dissolved in purified water.
8. The canister of claim 1 further comprising a handle attached to the container body for transporting the container.
9. The canister of claim 1 wherein the lid attachable to the perimeter rim of the open top of the container body forms a water tight seal between the lid and the container body.
10. A portable, large capacity, canister for containing and dispensing anti-microbial towelettes to a large number of individuals, the device comprising: (a) a container body having a closed base and surrounding walls with an open top defined by a perimeter rim; (b) a lid attachable to the perimeter rim of the open top of the container body, the lid further comprising a narrow lid neck extending from a central position on the lid, the lid neck comprising a closed side wall, open on the bottom through a toothed aperture to the interior of the container, and open on the top to the exterior of the container, the lid neck further having a cap sized to cover the top opening of the lid neck, the cap hinged so as to be retained in conjunction with the lid upon removal from the lid neck; (c) a handle attached to the container body for transporting the container; and (d) a cylindrical roll of a plurality of towelettes impregnated with an anti-microbial compound, the cylindrical roll positioned within the container body, the plurality of towelettes within the roll formed with perforations allowing for the separation of one towelette from the next, a first towelette on the interior of the open cylindrical roll extending from the interior up through the toothed aperture in the lid of the container so as to be positioned beneath the lid cap ready for dispensing.
CROSS REFERENCES TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
 This application is a Continuation-in-Part of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/274,051; Filed: Nov. 15, 2005, and further claims the benefit under Title 35 United States Code §119(e) of U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 61/295,228; Filed: Jan. 15, 2010, the full disclosures of which are incorporated herein by reference.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
 1. Field of the Invention
 The present invention relates generally to systems and devices for the dispensing of pre-moistened towelettes. The present invention relates more specifically to a portable, high capacity, towelette dispenser suitable for use in conjunction with large social gatherings where anti-microbial towelettes would help to reduce or prevent the spread of disease causing microbes.
 2. Description of the Related Art
 The most common manner of providing anti-microbial agents to the skin, especially to the hands of an individual, is through the use of a liquid or gel dispensed from a bottle, tube, or other small container. It is quite common for individuals to carry small containers of anti-bacterial and/or anti-microbial gels and liquids that may be used in any of a number of locations inside and outside the home or workplace. While such containers of anti-microbial compounds are beneficial, they suffer from two distinct problems with their use, and more specifically with their use in large gatherings of individuals.
 While anti-microbial gels and liquids do serve to reduce or eliminate harmful bacteria and other microbes, they generally do not remove the residue of cleansing from the skin of the user. Many such gels and liquids include alcohol based compounds that evaporate leaving the skin feeling dry after a period of time, albeit that the residue left over from the disinfecting process is never removed from the skin. It would be beneficial if the anti-microbial compound was combined with a method for removing residue from the skin during use.
 A further problem with small portable containers of anti-microbial gel or liquid is that they are generally quite limited in the quantity that they can store so as to accommodate more than a single individual, and especially fail when used with a larger gathering of individuals numbering ten or more. While certainly there are larger containers that may be available (and to some extent may be portable) to transport and deliver larger quantities of anti-microbial gel or liquid, such containers run into the problem of efficiently dispensing the anti-microbial compound to the many individuals requiring its use.
 In an effort to overcome some of the above mentioned problems with anti-microbial gels and liquids, efforts have been made in the past to infuse such liquids and gels into disposable towelettes. Such towelettes provide the benefit of allowing the user to remove residue from the skin rather than simply allowing the liquid or gel evaporate. This not only removes the residue from the skin, but also allows the anti-microbial compound to be made from non-alcohol based compositions. There are any of a number of negative implications for the use of alcohol based anti-microbial compounds, whether in liquid/gel form or impregnated within a towelette. In general, however, the efforts that have been made in the past are limited to the individual packaging of a single towelette inside a plastic or foil wrapper. Such packaging approaches greatly increase the amount of waste material that must be disposed of with the use of each towelette, and certainly increase the manufacturing costs associated with the packaging process. In addition, it is often quite difficult and time consuming to open such individually sealed packages and remove the towelette for use.
 Some further efforts have been made to incorporate small quantities of towelettes into small plastic containers which generally do not exceed one quart or one liter in size. Little or no effort has been made to address the needs of a larger group of individuals gathering in a social environment where the use of anti-microbial towelettes would be beneficial. It would be desirable to have a system for dispensing anti-microbial compounds to the skin and/or hands of a user within a larger social gathering environment. It would be beneficial if such dispensing means included the use of towelettes so that residue from the process of wiping the hands with the anti-microbial compound could then be removed from the hands and disposed of. In this manner, it would also be beneficial if such anti-microbial compound was made from a non-alcohol based composition.
 It would be further beneficial if the towelettes impregnated with an anti-microbial composition could be incorporated into a dispensing device that provided both ease of use and a significant quantity, such that a large group of individuals (such as with a sports team or a gathering at a picnic) might all readily and efficiently obtain an anti-microbial towelette for use, and thereafter dispose of the same in an adjacent refuse container. It would be beneficial if such anti-microbial towelettes were incorporated in a large canister that could be easily purchased from a retail outlet, transported to the location where the towelettes are to be used and subsequently removed from that location after use. It would be beneficial if the large quantity canister had a handle structure that allowed the user to easily transport the entire supply of anti-microbial towelettes to and from the location where they would be used. It would be further beneficial if the towelettes within the high capacity canister could be configured so as to be dispensed one at a time without the need for individual packaging and yet still without the possibility of the towelettes drying out during the dispensing process.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
 In fulfillment of the above and further objectives the present invention provides a portable high capacity canister for dispensing anti-microbial towelettes to a large group of individuals at a social gathering. The high capacity canister allows for the ready dispensing of anti-microbial towelettes to a large number of people quickly and conveniently. The canister container includes a large capacity bucket or pail shaped enclosure with a semi-permanently attached lid having a centrally positioned lid neck with a cap covering. A large quantity roll of towelettes impregnated with an anti-microbial agent or compound is positioned within the container and a sequence of individual towelettes from the roll may be fed through a toothed aperture within the container lid beneath the centrally positioned cap. With this dispensing device configured within a system for providing anti-microbial wipes or towelettes, the system allows for a large number of individuals to gain the advantage of using anti-microbial wipes or towelettes so as to eliminate or reduce the spread of germs as commonly occurs in environments having large numbers of individuals at social gatherings.
 The high capacity towelette canister further includes components that facilitate the portability of the device to and from the location of use. These components include a pivoting handle and an easily removable seal either over or under the replaceable cap covering the toothed aperture which retains an initially positioned towelette ready for dispensing. Further advantages and objectives of the present invention will be apparent to those skilled in the art from a reading of the following detailed description of the preferred embodiments and a consideration of the attached Drawing figures.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
 FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the towelette canister of the present invention shown in a closed packaged configuration.
 FIG. 2 is a cross-sectional view of the towelette canister of the present invention shown in an open condition ready for dispensing towelettes.
 FIG. 3 is a detailed cross-sectional view of the construction of the top opening portion of the towelette canister of the present invention.
 FIG. 4 is a top plan view of the towelette canister of the present invention shown in an initial sealed condition.
 FIG. 5 is a perspective view of a typical method of use for the towelette canister of the present invention and associated components within an overall system.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS
 Reference is initially made to FIG. 1 for a description of the overall configuration of a preferred structure of the towelette canister device of the present invention. In this view, towelette canister 10 is shown configured as it would be purchased by the consumer prior to being opened and configured for use. Towelette canister 10 is comprised primarily of container body 12, preferably having a pail or canister-like configuration, with container rim 14 forming the top perimeter edge of the initially open canister. Container lid 16 is fitted to and affixed on container rim 14 of container body 12. Centrally positioned on lid 16 is lid neck 20 which extends up from and encloses an opening in lid 16 and is covered by removable cap 18 connected to lid neck 20 by way of hinge 22.
 In the package manufacturing process, described in more detail below, lid 16 is semi-permanently affixed to container rim 14 and thereby closes off container body 12 by means of a snap lock rim and seal configuration known in the art. Such packaging is carried out subsequent to the insertion of the towelettes (shown and described in detail below) within the confines of container body 12. In order to facilitate the portability of towelette canister 10, the canister incorporates handle 24 which is connected to container rim 14 and thereby to container body 12 by way of handle attachments 26. Handle attachments 26 are, in the preferred embodiment, pivoting points of attachment that allow handle 24 to extend upward from container rim 14 as shown in FIG. 1 to allow the user to transport towelette canister 10, or in an alternate configuration to rotate to the side of container body 12 in order to facilitate access to the lid opening for the dispensing of the towelettes contained in the canister.
 FIG. 2 shows a cross-sectional view of towelette canister 10 in a configuration ready for use. In this view, container body 12 is seen as a walled canister defining a volume within which towelette roll 28 is positioned. In the cross-sectional view shown in FIG. 2 towelette roll 28 is seen to be a cylindrical roll of fabric or fibrous material based towelettes incorporating a liquid anti-microbial compound, which towelettes are dispensed from the container through an interior diameter space within the cylindrical roll open at each end. The next available towelette 30 is positioned through and aperture in toothed collar 32 within lid neck 20 as shown. In this configuration for use, cap 18 is removed from lid neck 20 positioned centrally in lid 16 so that towelette 30 may be grasped and pulled through toothed collar 32. This manner of dispensing towelettes allows individual towelettes to be separated at perforations incorporated into the roll.
 In the view of FIG. 2 the manner in which container rim 14 interlocks, connects, and seals to lid 16 is further shown. In the manufacturing process, towelette roll 28 is placed centrally within the confines of initially open container body 12. A first towelette 30 is drawn up from the central diameter opening of towelette roll 28 and is fed through toothed collar 32 of lid 16 which has yet to be placed over the top of container body 12. Once towelette 30 has been fed through toothed collar 32, cap 18 may be closed over lid neck 20 to close off and seal this dispensing aperture. Lid 16 is then placed over top of and snapped down onto container rim 14 in a manner that locks and seals lid 16 onto container body 12.
 When the consumer purchases the product of the present invention and initiates use of the towelette canister, cap 18 may be opened by breaking or otherwise removing seal 34 covering over cap 18 and lid neck 20 so that cap 18 may easily be removed to expose the first towelette 30 as shown in FIG. 2. In this manner, the user is not required to access towelette roll 28 in order to initiate removing towelettes from towelette canister 10.
 The absorbent sheets used in the present invention are impregnated with an antimicrobial composition suitable for contact with human skin. The term "antimicrobial composition" as used herein means a composition that may be suitable for application to the skin for the purpose of controlling the growth and viability of microbes. The antimicrobial composition of the present invention is made of a combination of antimicrobial actives, Lanolin, and Aloe Barbadensis, selected to satisfy the efficacy and mildness requirements of the invention and manufactured according to techniques known in the art.
 Specifically, the antimicrobial composition of a preferred embodiment of the present invention is a mixture comprised of the following components in the indicated ranges dissolved in an appropriate amount of purified water: 0.05-0.5% (w/v) Benzalkonium Chloride, 0.05-0.5% (w/v) Hymine (Benzethonium Chloride), 0.10-0.5% (w/v) Lanolin PEG 60, and 0.10-5.0% (w/v) Aloe Barbadensis. Benzalkonium Chloride and Benzethonium Chloride are known to be bactericidal against many organisms including Gram positive, Gram negative, and Acid fast bacteria. Additionally, the antiviral properties of Benzalkonium Chloride are known in the art. The addition of Lanolin PEG 60 and Aloe Barbadensis in the presence of these antimicrobial actives does not negatively impact the inhibitory effects of the active ingredients individually or in combination. The Lanolin provides a water soluble emollient and also helps decrease the evaporation of the other components of the composition, whereas Aloe provides a hypoallergenic skin-soothing component for additional mildness to the skin.
 Any manufacturing method suitable for the application of aqueous or aqueous/alcoholic impregnates, including flood coating, spray coating, metered dosing, or other techniques known in the art, can be used to impregnate the absorbent sheets of the present invention with the antimicrobial composition.
 FIG. 3 shows in greater detail the manner in which a Mylar or plastic seal 34 may be positioned from cap 18 to the outer surface of lid 16 in such a manner that the user might easily remove seal 34 in order to lift cap 18 off of lid neck 20 so that cap 18 may be removed (pivoted back on hinge 22) to expose the towelette 30 extending through toothed collar 32. Optionally, a seal may be positioned in other places, such as on the interior of cap 18 and lid 16, to again evidence that the cap 18 has not been opened since the manufacturing and packaging process. Also in FIG. 3, the manner in which lid 16 may be snap-locked down onto container rim 14 and thereby seal the large opening of container body 12 is shown.
 FIG. 4 provides a top plan view of the towelette canister 10 of the present invention as it might be purchased by the consumer prior to "opening" for use. FIG. 4 also shows the manner in which a Mylar or plastic seal 34 may be positioned from cap 18 extending down to the top surface of lid 16 in such a manner that the user may remove seal 34 in order to release cap 18 from lid 16 so that cap 18 may be removed (pivoted back on hinge 22) to expose the towelette (not shown in this view) extending through toothed collar 32. In this manner, the structure of the present invention provides a dispensing canister shape that optimizes the rate at which towelettes may be dispensed from any side of the container. Unlike a container with Z-fold towelettes that must be dispensed from one particular side of the container, the present invention allows for easy access to the container from any side, and easy removal of one towelette at a time from the container by pulling in any direction.
 Reference is finally made to FIG. 5 for a detailed description of the manner in which towelette canister 10 of the present invention is incorporated into a system for providing, dispensing, and disposing of anti-microbial towelettes within a sports team environment (as an example) or in a similar social gathering environment wherein a large number of anti-microbial towelettes might be required at a single point in time. It is recognized that the size of towelette canister 10 does not make it appropriate for every situation where anti-microbial towelettes might be useful. The structure of the device is intended for situations where a gathering of a large number of individuals with a common purpose (such as a sports team or large picnic gathering) might want ready access to anti-microbial towelettes and their use in conjunction with a system for dispensing and disposal. The example of a sports team therefore exhibited in FIG. 4 is but one example of the use of the towelette canister of the present invention.
 In the view of FIG. 5 it may be seen how towelette canister 10 may be used to dispense to the user a new towelette 40 which is then used and becomes used towelette 42, which is carried to and placed in an adjacently positioned disposal container 38. It would be appropriate, for example, to position towelette canister 10 in association with a sports bench 36 or the like, wherein sports team members may readily access the towelette canister and likewise readily dispose of the used towelettes in disposal container 38. Once again, other environments where large numbers of individuals need ready access to the dispensing and disposal of anti-microbial towelettes are anticipated.
 Although the present invention has been described in terms of the foregoing preferred embodiments, this description has been provided by way of explanation only, and is not intended to be construed as a limitation of the invention. Those skilled in the art will recognize modifications of the present invention that might accommodate specific social gathering environments and requirements. Those skilled in the art will further recognize additional environments for implementing the device and system of the present invention to accommodate larger or smaller numbers of individuals beyond the specific situations described herein. Those skilled in the art will recognize alternate handle structures that maintain both the portability characteristics of the invention and the easy access to the dispensing aperture. Such modifications as to system structure, configuration, size, and geometry, where such modifications are coincidental to the type of social gathering of individuals involved, do not necessarily depart from the spirit and scope of the invention.
Patent applications in class With casing or support
Patent applications in all subclasses With casing or support