Title:
FUNNELS
United States Patent 3763903


Abstract:
A funnel which automatically terminates feed from the funnel, comprises a float which is moveable into and out of spout closing position. The float carries a handle member which extends upwardly into the main body portion of the funnel and means are provided on the handle to lock the float in spout closing position.



Inventors:
OUCHTERLONY G
Application Number:
05/206677
Publication Date:
10/09/1973
Filing Date:
12/10/1971
Assignee:
OUCHTERLONY G,CA
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
141/204, 251/102
International Classes:
B67C11/06; (IPC1-7): B65B39/00; B67C11/04
Field of Search:
141/95,98,199-205,336,344,345,392 251
View Patent Images:
US Patent References:
3123106N/A1964-03-03Parhaniemi
2715488Self-sealing funnel1955-08-16Conlon
2158574Safety cock1939-05-16Feiks
1343867Automatic self-closing funnel1920-06-15Grove
1293575N/A1919-02-04Tapman
1117431N/A1914-11-17Olds
1107774N/A1914-08-18Frederick
0883289N/A1908-03-31



Foreign References:
DK33559A
DE348251C
Primary Examiner:
Bell Jr., Houston S.
Claims:
I claim

1. A funnel comprising a main tapered body portion and a spout, a float moveable into and out of spout closing position, a handle member carried by said float and extending upwardly into said main tapered body portion, means carried by the funnel to guide said handle portion as said float moves into and out of spout closing position, and means for locking said float in spout closing position, said locking means comprising an elongated sleeve sleeved on and in frictional engagement with said handle, said sleeve being adapted to be moved downwardly along said handle to contact a fixed funnel part with said float in spout closing position to hold said float in said spout closing position, the frictional force between said sleeve and handle being such as to prevent dislodgement of said float from said spout closing position under the loading of said float by a quantity of substance to be funnelled which fills said main body portion to maximum capacity.

2. A funnel as claimed in claim 1 in which said sleeve is sleeved onto a sinusoidal resilient handle portion having an unrestrained spread between peaks on opposite sides of the handle axis greater than the maximum interior dimension of said sleeve whereby said sinusoidal handle portion engages the interior of said sleeve under spring pressure.

3. A funnel as claimed in claim 1 in which said sleeve is a cylinder sleeve and is sleeved on a helical resilient handle portion having an unrestrained diameter greater than the interior diameter of said sleeve whereby said helical handle portion engages the interior of said sleeve under spring pressure.

4. A funnel as claimed in claim 2 wherein said spout is an elongated spout housing said float.

5. A funnel as claimed in claim 4 wherein said spout carries a rim against which said spout housed float seats when said float is in spout closing position.

6. A funnel as claimed in claim 1 wherein said main tapered body portion has graduated markings thereon.

Description:
FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates to funnels and more particularly self closing funnels which automatically terminate fluid feed from the funnel to a receiving receptacle when the fluid level within the receptacle rises to a predetermined height.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

One of the problems encountered for example in filling opaque receptacles such as outboard motor gas tanks by means of a funnel is that the point to which the receptacle is filled cannot be determined until it overflows the mouth of the receptacle. Unless care is taken this still leaves a quantity of liquid in the funnel which cannot be prevented from discharging and is wasted. It has been proposed to put a float in the spout portion of the funnel which projects into the receptacle and as the receptacle fills to a certain point the float will rise and close off the funnel spout and the remaining liquid in the funnel is prevented from discharging. A handle attached to the float allows the float to be kept in place containing the undischarged liquid until the contents of the funnel can be poured back into the liquid source such as a gasoline can in the case mentioned.

Such prior art arrangements however have several serious limitations. For instance, the user must continue to hold the handle at all times to prevent the undischarged liquid in the funnel from discharging through the spout and the funnel cannot be set down without such discharge. Also, the funnel cannot be used conveniently to convey liquid to the point of discharge because during the pouring of the liquid into the funnel one hand must be used to hold up the float in funnel closing position and only one hand is available to pour the liquid into the funnel making the operation very awkward. Further, it is extremely awkward to steady the funnel to ensure that the funnel is not overturned, and in attempting to steady the funnel excessive force is liable to be applied to the float handle causing its bending at the point of connection with the float which may prevent the float from thereafter properly seating, and, as a result of the bending action, the handle may frequently break off from the float. A further problem encountered with such prior art devices is the lack of proper seating of the float with the result that there is at least a partial unwanted discharge of the liquid through the spout. Also, it may be desirable to use the funnel in conjunction with fluids which give off toxic or noxious fumes, a use not recommended with present devices which require the holding of the float handle.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

It is the object of the present invention to overcome the above-mentioned problems by providing an extremely simple and economical float arrangement whereby the float can be securely locked in funnel closing position.

Another object of the invention is to provide such an arrangement adaptable to conventional funnels.

Still another object of the invention is to provide a funnel by means of which an accurately measured amount of liquid may be carried in the funnel to the point of discharge and then released.

More particularly, according to the invention, the float is provided with a handle which carries its own locking arrangement that co-acts with a part of the funnel without requiring any special funnel construction or any locking mechanism on the funnel per se.

In this connection, according to the invention, the handle of the float is provided with a friction sleeve which is slidable under frictional force along the handle to seat against an appropriate part of the funnel above the spout when the float is in spout or funnel closing position, the frictional force between the handle and sleeve being such that the float will not be forced off its seat under the maximum head of liquid which can be contained in the funnel above the float.

Further according to the preferred forms of the invention, the float is formed as an elongated member which extends substantially the length of the funnel spout when the float is in funnel closing position to ensure that the float is guided substantially axially of the spout as it moves into funnel closing position.

The float may also include a plurality of vanes disposed in spaced relation about the periphery of the float to ensure that the float is guided in the spout as mentioned above while at the same time allowing sufficient fluid flow past the float.

Also the invention enables the funnel to be used as a measuring device (with graduation markers along the side of the funnel) wherein a fluid or fluids or powder or powders may be poured into the funnel up to the desired measured amount or amounts and then released into a receptacle thus enabling in a very simple manner with a minimum of steps the mixing of measured amounts of fluids or fluids and solids to be effected without the necessity of using measuring cups or the like. Further the funnel lends itself to ready purging to ensure complete discharge of solids inserted in the main body portion through the spout portion.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The invention will now be described in relation to the accompanying drawings in which:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a funnel embodying the invention with a portion cut away to show the locking means.

FIG. 2 is an enlarged vertical sectional view of the lower portion of the funnel shown in FIG. 1 and showing the float in locked funnel closing position.

FIG. 3 is a vertical sectional view of the funnel of FIG. 1 with the float in funnel open position.

FIG. 4 is a vertical sectional view similar to FIG. 3 but showing the float in funnel closing and unlocked position.

FIG. 5 is a vertical sectional view of an alternative form of funnel embodying the invention.

FIG. 6 is an enlarged vertical sectional view showing an alternative form of float locking means.

FIG. 7 is a vertical sectional view illustrating the application of the invention to another conventional form of funnel.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

With reference to FIGS. 1 to 4 there is shown a funnel generally designated at 1 having a conical main tapered body portion 2 and a spout 3. The funnel body is shown as provided with markings 4 to indicate measured funnel volumes above a screen 5 mounted on a ring 6 at the juncture 7 of the main body portion 2 and the spout 3.

Arranged within the spout 3 is a float 8 of suitable buoyant material, for instance, styrofoam, although cork or any other suitable material may be utilized. The float 8 is provided at its upper end with an enlarged head 9 which is adapted to seat against the underside of the ring 6 to close the opening 10, which normally provides the communication from the main funnel body 2 to the spout 3.

Preferably the float 8 is provided with guide vanes 11 which maintain the float in a central position within the spout 3.

Extending upwardly from the head 9 of the float 8 through a guide opening 5' in the screen is the straight stem portion 12 of a handle generally designated at 13 having a finger grip 14 at the upper end thereof. Between the finger grip 14 and the lower straight stem portion 12 the handle stem is formed into a generally sinusoidal configuration 15 having a measure of resiliency.

A sleeve 16 having finger grip wings 17 and a slightly smaller maximum interior dimension or diameter than the unrestrained dimension between peaks on opposing sides of the handle axis of the sinusoidal handle portion 15 is sleeved onto the handle portion 15 while it is first elongated and then released thereby developing a frictional spring pressure between the handle portion 15 and the sleeve interior. The frictional force developed is such that when the float 8 is pulled up into its funnel closing seated position illustrated in FIG. 2, and the sleeve 16 pushed downwardly on the handle stem to engage the screen 5, the funnel may be filled to its maximum depth and the frictional force between the sleeve and handle will preclude this maximum head of liquid in the funnel from displacing the float from its seated position without requiring any external upward force on the handle.

When it is desired to discharge the contents of the funnel or when the funnel is being used in its natural use, as an ordinary funnel, the sleeve 16 is withdrawn upwardly until its upper portion reaches adjacent the finger grip 14 at which time the float will drop downwardly in the spout under its own weight until the sleeve 16 prevents further downward movement by encountering the screen 5. However, as illustrated in FIG. 4, when the liquid in the receptacle 18 reaches adjacent the top thereof, it will force the float 8 up until the head 9 of the float seats against the underside of the ring 6 which will shut off further flow into the receptacle and the funnel then becomes a receptacle for any further liquid being poured therein, which fact will be immediately apparent to the user. At this time the user may then push the sleeve 16 downwardly on the handle stem, locking the float in the funnel closing position illustrated in FIG. 2 and the funnel and contents may then be lifted from the receptacle and the liquid now trapped in the funnel may be poured back into its original container.

In the event that it is desired to mix a given quantity of liquid, for example, an insecticide, with a predetermined amount of water in a container, it will be understood that with the float in the closed position illustrated in FIG. 2, the desired amount of insecticide may be poured into the funnel to the level determined by the markings 4. The funnel may then be carried in both hands to the container into which its contents are to be discharged and all that is necessary to release the contents of the funnel is to pull upwardly on the sleeve 16 by means of the finger grips 17. These finger grips 17 normally reach above the level of the liquid in the funnel so that the release action can be effected without touching the liquid should it be a corrosive or otherwise dangerous substance.

With reference to FIG. 5 there is shown a slightly modified form of funnel generally designated at 20. In this case the funnel has a main conical body portion 21, and a spout generally designated at 22 comprising a first cylindrical portion 23 and a lower tapered portion 24.

In the case of the embodiment of the invention illustrated in FIG. 5, the float 25 will be sufficiently guided by the lower tapered portion 24 of the spout so that guide vanes are not required. As before, the float 25 is provided with a head 26 adapted to seat against the underside of a ring 27 provided at the juncture of the main body portion 20 and the cylindrical spout portion 23. A supporting spider formation 28 extends across the discharge opening 29 provided through the ring 27 and has a central boss 28' through which the handle operates. In this case the handle generally designated at 30 comprises a straight lower stem portion 31, operating through the boss 28', a resilient helical central portion 32 and a straight upper portion 33 ending in a finger grip cross bar 34. A sleeve 35 of slightly smaller internal diameter than the unrestrained external diameter of the helical portion 32 is sleeved on the helical portion 32 while it is first elongated and then released thereby developing a frictional spring pressure between the handle and the sleeve so that with the sleeve seated down on the spider 28, the float will be locked in funnel closing position with sufficient force to prevent its dislodgement under the maximum head of liquid contained in the main body portion of the funnel.

The lower handle portion 31 carries a stop 36 which is adapted to limit downward movement of the float 25 when the locking sleeve 35 is moved upwardly to the unlocked position so that the head 26 of the float 25 will not drop sufficiently to close off the flow through the tapered spout portion 24.

FIG. 6 illustrates an alternative form of locking arrangement in which the handle 40 extending from the head 41 of a float 42 is provided with a straight stem portion 43 extending through the central boss 48 of a supporting spider 49, and a finger grip portion 44. Sleeved on the straight stem portion 43 is a cage or sleeve 45 having a plurality of internal members 46 through which the straight stem portion 43 of the handle passes in a tight fit to provide sufficient frictional forces to maintain the float head 41 in the funnel closing position against the ring 47 under the maximum head of liquid to be carried in the funnel.

FIG. 7 shows an arrangement similar to FIG. 5 except that the spout portion 50 of the funnel generally designated at 51 is shown with continuous taper. In this case the float 52 is illustrated as being tapered and provided with guide vanes 53 and again has a head 54 adapted to seat against a ring 55 located at the juncture of the main body of the funnel and the tapered portion 50. The handle 56 corresponds to the handle shown in FIG. 5 and is provided with a straight lower portion 57, an intermediate helical portion 58 and a straight upper portion 59 terminating in a finger bar 60. Again mounted on the helical portion 58 of the handle is a sleeve 61 and a stop 62 is provided to limit downward float movement. It will be noted in FIG. 7 that the screen 63 is anchored in the opening 64 through the ring 55 and is provided with a central boss 65 therethrough through which the lower stem portion 57 operates. It will be understood that in many conventional funnels of a configuration corresponding to that of FIG. 7, no screen is provided and such a funnel may be converted into a funnel having the features of the present invention by assembling the float handle, locking sleeves and screen exterior of the funnel and then dropping it into position either by forcing it into tight engagement with the lower portion of the main body of the funnel or soldering or otherwise fastening the ring 55 in position.

While various embodiments of the invention have been illustrated and described, it will be understood that variations therein may be made as will be apparent to those skilled in the art without departing from the spirit of the invention or scope of the appended claims.