Title:
WEDGE LOCK COUPLING DEVICE
United States Patent 3762565


Abstract:
A coupling for removable attachment to the end of a resilient flexible washing machine liquid discharge hose, having wedge lock members embodied therein for engaging the exterior surface of the hose inserted within the coupling bore, is provided. The wedge lock members in one preferred form of the invention are provided with lateral longitudinally extending ribs for axial travel in complementary grooves embodied in the body of the coupling. In another preferred form of the invention, the wedge lock members have straight flat lateral sides without such ribs. The wedge lock members are insertable manually through slots into the bore of the coupling body. The coupling is particularly adapted to support means for filtering the liquid discharged from the washing machine hose. For some time, particularly since domestic automatic power washing machines have been manufactured and in use, a problem has arisen in trapping the lint and relatively solid particles discharged from the washing machine hose to prevent clogging drain outlets or laundry tubs normally used to receive such discharged liquid. Although efforts have been made to prevent the discharge of such lint and relatively solid particles from the washing machine by the fabrication and use of lint collectors in the machine, such devices have not proven entirely satisfactory. Further, many washing machines of the automatic type are not provided with lint collectors, and in either case it has been found that the drains tend to clog and fill with lint and other deleterious particulate matter discharged from the washing machine so that drainage of the discharged liquid is severely impaired or cannot be effected. The coupling device of this invention embodies features permitting a woman, the usual washing machine operator, to attach and remove the coupling to and from the discharge hose with ease and to apply and support a filter medium upon the coupling, whereby lint and drain-clogging matter are trapped and collected before the liquid flows into the drain.



Inventors:
Okuniewski, Vincent F. (Warren, MI)
Flowers, Leonard B. (Bloomfield Hills, MI)
Application Number:
05/278628
Publication Date:
10/02/1973
Filing Date:
08/07/1972
Assignee:
OKUNIEWSKI V,US
FLOWERS L,US
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
285/255
International Classes:
F16L37/092; (IPC1-7): B01D29/10
Field of Search:
210/449,460 285
View Patent Images:
US Patent References:
3454289PIPE APPARATUS1969-07-08Fowler
2899217N/A1959-08-11Ashbrook et al.
1199628N/A1916-09-26Stauffer
0621937N/A1899-03-28
0150525N/A1874-05-05



Primary Examiner:
Zaharna, Samih N.
Assistant Examiner:
Burks, Richard W.
Claims:
We claim

1. In an improved unitary coupling device adapted to be removably secured to the distal end of a relatively resilient flexible liquid discharge hose and to which means for filtering the liquid discharged from said hose can be removably attached, the improved device comprising

2. The improved coupling device defined in claim 1, wherein

3. The improved coupling device defined in claim 1, wherein

4. The improved coupling device defined in claim 1, wherein

5. The improved coupling device defined in claim 1, wherein

6. The improved coupling device defined in claim 1, wherein

7. The improved coupling device defined in claim 1, wherein

8. The improved coupling device defined in claim 1, wherein

9. The improved coupling device defined in claim 1, wherein

10. The improved coupling device defined in claim 1, wherein

11. The improved coupling device defined in claim 1, wherein

12. The improved coupling device defined in claim 11, wherein

13. In an improved filter device adapted to be removably secured to the distal end of a relatively resilient flexible liquid discharge hose for filtering the liquid discharged from said hose, the improved device comprising

14. The improved device defined in claim 13, wherein

15. The improved device defined in claim 13, wherein

16. The improved device defined in claim 13, wherein

17. The improved device defined in claim 13, wherein

Description:
The invention involves, in one preferred embodiment, the provision of a coupling member for the discharge hose of the washing machine having a hub section and an annular flange extending outwardly from the hub section, upon which a suitable filter for the discharged liquid can be removably attached, to trap and contain lint and other deleterious drain-clogging matter normally discharged by washing machines. The coupling member is provided with slots through the body of the hub section, the slots being spaced substantially equally apart. The hose wedge lock members are manually insertable through and into these slots. The wedge lock members are provided on their distal radially inwardly directed faces with vertically spaced apart transverse sawtooth ribs and the body of the wedge lock members is tapered from a broad base to a narrower top edge. The coupling is further provided with an annular inner flange or at least a pair of spaced apart opposed inwardly directed flange segments or lugs adjacent the distal end of the coupling to abut the distal end of the flexible rubber liquid discharge hose inserted within the coupling bore.

By virtue of the wedge lock members movably operative somewhat within the interior bore of the coupling, an annular space is provided between the outer surface of the resilient rubber hose and the interior bore surface of the coupling hub section intermediate and axially of the engaging wedge lock sawtooth ribs. Such annular space allows for relief discharge of washing machine liquid from a filter which may have become substantially fully clogged with lint and through which little if any of the liquid can be discharged. The annular space constitutes a safety relief vent to maintain the functional efficiency and operation of the washing machine in its discharge of washing or rinsing liquids.

It is an object of the invention to provide a coupling for the support of filter means which is adapted to be manually attachable and removable easily and readily by the usual automatic washing machine operator to and from the distal end of a washing machine liquid discharge hose. A further object is to provide a coupling device having wedge lock members movable substantially axially adjacent and slightly inwardly of the interior surface of the bore of the coupling. Still another object is to provide hose end stop means adjacent the distal end of the coupling whereby the hose end can be inserted fully within the coupling bore to abut the stop means. Yet a further object is the provision of movable wedge lock members that are manually insertable and guided in grooves in the hub section of the coupling device for substantially axial travel therein, whereby the hose distal end portion can be wedged and retained within the bore of the coupling hub section upon retracted movement of the hose engaged by the wedge lock members. Still a further object is to provide wedge lock members without guide ribs for such coupling hub section. Yet a further object is to provide a coupling for the liquid discharge hose of a washing machine upon which filter means of any suitable type can be manually secured and removably retained for the filtering of washing machine discharge liquid and the collection of lint and other deleterious matter, to prevent the clogging of drains into which such liquid is normally discharged.

Various further and more specific objects, features and advantages of the invention will appear from the description given below, taken in connection with the accompanying drawings, illustrating by way of example preferred forms of the invention. Reference is here made to the drawings annexed hereto and forming an integral part of this specification, in which

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a coupling embodying a preferred form of the invention and the upper portion of an attached filter means. FIG. 2 is a substantially vertical sectional view of the coupling illustrated in FIG. 1, taken substantially on the line 2--2 of FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is a horizontal sectional view taken substantially on the line 3--3 of FIG. 2.

FIG. 4 is a view similar to that of FIG. 3 but showing a modified form of the wedge lock members and the complementary hub section of the coupling.

FIGS. 5 and 6 are perspective views showing the wedge lock members of FIGS. 1--3 and the FIG. 4 forms of the invention respectively.

FIGS. 7 and 8 are fragmentary perspective views similar to that illustrated in FIG. 1 showing different but substantially equivalent fastening means for securing the filter means to the coupling hub section.

FIG. 9 is a vertical sectional view similar to that in FIG. 2 but showing the wedge lock members of FIG. 6 engaged and impressed upon the hose distal end portion.

As illustrated in the several views of the drawings, and particularly in FIGS. 1, 2 and 3, the coupling 10 is provided with a body 12 having a hub section 14, an outer annular flange 16, an internal flange 18, a bore 20, radially spaced apart slots 22 having grooves 24 at each lateral side of the slot in the body of the hub section, and a plurality of wedge lock members 26 slidingly disposed in the slots 22 for substantially axial travel along grooves 24 from the seat 28 of the slot toward the upper end 30 thereof.

As particularly illustrated in FIG. 5, the wedge lock member 26 is provided with a body portion 34 provided on its radially inwardly directed distal face with a plurality of substantially parallel vertically spaced apart sawtooth ribs 36 arranged transversely of the member and its direction of travel. The lateral side edges of the body 34 are provided with longitudinally extending rib members 38, 38 which are disposed at a slight acute angle to a plane passed through the distal edges of the sawtooth ribs 36. The member 26 is further provided with a manually graspable tab section 40 extending rearwardly from the body a distance sufficient to allow for manual grasping of the member and for its insertion and removal into and from the slot 22. The lateral ribs 38,38 of the wedge members 26 are adapted to lie and slide in the lateral grooves 24,24 of each of the slots 22 in the hub section 14. This relationship is illustrated particularly in the FIG. 3 view.

The body of coupling 10 and the wedge lock members 26 are preferably molded of substantially rigid plastic materials having good memory characteristics including but not limited to relatively high density polyethylene, high density polypropylene, ABS (acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene), polystyrene, and other similar or equivalent materials, in a single injection operation or in complementary half-sections that are secured together by heat and fusion or by suitable adhesives. The degree of rigidity required is such that the wedge lock members 26 can be inserted within the slots 22 so that the lateral ribs 38,38 seat themselves in the lateral grooves 24,24 of the slots 22. One way of effecting such insertion is to introduce the manual tabs 40 through the bottom portion of the slot from the bore 20 of the hub section until the lateral ribs 38,38 abut the bore surface closely adjacent the lower seat 28 of the slot 22, applying pressure radially upon the sawtooth ribs 36 until the lateral ribs 38 snap into the grooves 24,24. As will be recognized, the ribs 38,38 are not and need not be of substantial dimensions but sufficient merely to engage and slide cooperatively in the complementary slot grooves 24,24.

A modified form of the wedge member 26 is that illustrated in FIGS. 6 and 9. The wedge member 26a (FIG. 6) embodies the same features as described above for the wedge member 26, except that the lateral ribs 38,38 are omitted. Therefore, the side walls 42,42 of these wedge members are planar and complementary to the planar side walls of the hub section slots 22.

It will be observed in the FIG. 9 illustration that the slotted openings 22a are substantially identical with the slotted openings 22 of the FIG. 2 illustration except that the lateral grooves 24,24 are omitted. In all other respects, the coupling body is the same. The wedge lock members 26a are inserted into the slots 22a (FIG. 9) in substantially the same manner as described above for the wedge members 26. The manual tab 40 is first inserted through the bore 20 of the hub section 14 until the body 34 of the wedge lock member 26a is fully disposed within the slot 22a.

As illustrated more particularly in FIG. 9, the washing machine liquid discharge hose 46 is provided with a distal end portion 48 insertable into the hub section bore 20 until it abuts the inner stop flange 18. The body 50 of the hose is partially impressed or penetrated by the transverse sawtooth ribs 36 of the wedge members 26, or 26a as the case may be, to frictionally retain the distal hose portion 48 within the hub section 14. The sawtooth ribs 36 also tend to hold at least portions of the hose body 48 away from the surface of the bore 20 so as to provide a spacing 44 therebetween. Although four wedge members are illustrated for each of the preferred forms of the coupling device 10, it will be understood that a lesser number such as two or three of such wedge members can be utilized to perform the function required of removably securing the hose distal end portion 24 within the coupling 10.

In operation, the wedge lock members 26 or 26a are inserted within the slots 22 and 22a respectively as described above until the base of the wedge lock member is seated upon the bottom or seat 28 of the slot. The hose distal end portion 48 is then manually inserted into the bore 20 of the coupling hub section 14, passing downwardly between the wedge lock member sawtooth ribs 36 until the distal end of the hose abuts the inner flange 18. The wedge members 26 or 26a can then be either manually raised so as to impress the sawtooth ribs 36 upon and into the resilient flexible outer surface and body of the hose 46 or if they are already engaged by virtue of the dimensional relationship between the hose distal end portion 48 and the distance between opposed wedge member sawtooth ribs, a slight upward retraction of the hose end portion 48 will raise the engaged wedge members 26 or 26a in their slots 22 or 22a respectively to more firmly engage and impress the sawtooth ribs upon and into the body 50 of the hose end portion 48. Such relationship is particularly more clearly illustrated in FIG. 9.

A filter bag 60 of woven plastic screening, or relatively porous non-woven material, or any other suitable material adapted to trap and retain lint and particulate solid matter that may be discharged from the washing machine hose 46, can be utilized with the coupling 10. The porosity or screen size of the filter bag 60 is of course optionally selectively determined by the user or the manufacturer. Presently available conventional fly and insect screening of a vinyl screen cloth has been found quite satisfactory for trapping and retaining lint material discharged through the hose 46, but of course other equipment or even superior materials can be utilized for filtering purposes.

The filter bag 60 is preferably though not exclusively fabricated by forming a cylindrical body 62, closing its bottom end in any suitable manner and providing an open top end portion 64 which will slip over the outer annular flange 16 of the coupling 10 so that a suitable fastener or tie member such as a drawstring or ribbon 66 can be drawn through openings in the portion 64 to closely secure the filter bag 60 upon the hub section 14 and above the annular flange 16 whereby the filter bag is retained upon the coupling 10.

Alternate equivalent means for securing the filter bag 60 to the coupling 10 are illustrated in FIGS. 7 and 8, although it is to be clearly understood that other equivalent means can also be employed for such purpose. In the FIG. 7 illustration, the filter bag 60 is secured to the coupling 10 by an elastic band 68 which is looped externally about the open end portion 64 of the filter bag to clasp the bag portion 64 closely upon the hub section 14. The elastic band 68 can be as shown utilized externally, or it may be provided as a woven-in form of elastic band and made part of the open end portion 64 of the filter bag 60, by conventional means and design.

A second alternate equivalent means for removably securing the filter bag 60 to the coupling 10 is illustrated in FIG. 8, wherein an externally applied wire or plastic twist tie 70 has its ends 72,72 twisted tightly together upon the filter bag portion 64 until that portion is closely secured about the hub portion 14 of the coupling 10.

The hose 46 normally used as a discharge conduit connected to the liquid outlet of a conventional powered automatic washing machine is made of a resilient flexible rubber or equivalent material. The distal end portion 48 of the hose 46 is inserted into the hub section 14 of the coupling 10 and passed over the sawtooth ribs 36 until the distal end portion 48 of the hose abuts the interior flange 18 of the coupling. It will of course be understood that the flange 18 may actually be made in segments or sections generally opposing each other, instead of being a full annular inner flange as shown. Further, the inner stop flange 18 or portions thereof may lie in a plane at or above the distal end of the coupling bore 20, the wedge lock member slots 22 being disposed axially above the inner flange 18. The outer annular flange 60 may be disposed in a position intermediate the ends of the coupling 10, but preferably near or adjacent the distal end of the coupling so that a substantial portion of the hub section 14 is available for securement of the filter bag 60 which depends therefrom and about the outeflange 16. The removably engageable distal end portion 64 of the filter bag is slipped over the flange 16 of the coupling and is secured upon the hub section 14 thereabove by any of the means disclosed herein, or by any other suitable means as may be preferred by the user or the manufacturer of the filter bag 60.

Once the filter bag 60 becomes substantially coated on its inner surface with lint and particulate matter, it should be removed from the coupling 10 and replaced with a clean fresh filter bag or one which has been cleaned of lint.

To remove the hose 46 from the coupling 10, a preferred method is to manually grasp the tabs 40 of each of the wedge lock members 26 or 26a and bring them to the bottom seat 28 of the slots 22 or 22a, relieving the pressure applied by the sawtooth ribs 36 upon the outer surface of the hose distal end portion 48. Such axial movement of the wedge members 26 or 26a can be effected by grasping the tabs 40 one or more at a time, or by an annular sleeve or collar (not shown) that is slidingly disposed upon the outer surface of the hub section 14 so that the annular sleeve engages the radially outwardly projecting tab members 40 substantially simultaneously to seat and retain them upon the base 28 of the slots 22 and 22a.

Although particular embodiments of the invention have been disclosed herein for purposes of explanation, further modifications or variations thereof, after study of this specification, will or may become apparent to those skilled in the art to which the invention pertains. Reference should be had to the appended claims in determining the scope of the invention.