Title:
Leaf collector and baler
United States Patent 3911519
Abstract:
A leaf collector and baler including a pick-up brush assembly having a plurality of horizontal mounting bars positioned circumferentially around the axis of rotation of the brush assembly with clusters of brush filaments extending radially therefrom and plates mounted on the bars extending along their length and projecting in the direction toward the next adjacent bar opposite the direction of rotation of the brush assembly and means for snap-rotating the brushes along the axis of the bar to which it is mounted in the direction of rotation of said assembly. The collector and baler further including a collection hopper receiving leaves from said brush assembly and discharging into a compaction chamber. A pair of reciprocating sweeps are mounted to the collection hopper to alternately sweep across the hopper. The floor of the hopper and the side of the collection chamber opposite the hopper having openings therein to discharge particulate debris and entrapped air, respectively.


Inventors:
Anlas, Carl J. (Manasquan Park, NJ)
Sellari, Alfred J. (Nutley, NJ)
Application Number:
05/337001
Publication Date:
10/14/1975
Filing Date:
03/01/1973
Assignee:
ANLAS; CARL J.
SELLARI; ALFRED J.
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
56/341, 100/189
International Classes:
E01H1/04; (IPC1-7): E01H1/04
Field of Search:
15/83-86,183,79 100
View Patent Images:
US Patent References:
3736866BALE PACKER FORK ADJUSTMENT1973-06-05Herrick
3486439AGRICULTURAL APPARATUS1969-12-30May et al.
3357038Brush apparatus1967-12-12Williamson et al.
3351002Hay baler1967-11-07McDuffie
3324496Rotary brush1967-06-13Haracz
3228053Cylindrical brush assembly1966-01-11Horton et al.
3093853Power sweeper broom chamber1963-06-18Tamny
2975581Pick-up baler with cross conveyer1961-03-21Matthies
2789067Street sweeping machine with compacting means in the dirt box thereof and a method of sweeping1957-04-16Link, Jr.
2674839Pickup and baler1954-04-13Russell
2660949Baler1953-12-01Russell
2431892Loader chute for pickup balers1947-12-02Russell
Primary Examiner:
Roberts, Edward L.
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Bain, Gilfillan & Rhodes
Claims:
What is claimed is

1. In a leaf collector and baler having a mobile chassis, a pick-up brush assembly housing mounted on the chassis, a pick-up brush mounting assembly rotatably mounted on the said housing, a leaf collection hopper having a discharge opening on one end mounted on the chassis positioned rearwardly of the said housing so as to receive leaves from brushes on the brush mounting assembly, a compaction chamber having an opening on one side communicating with the discharge opening in the said hopper, the compaction chamber having a discharge opening on one end, a ram mounted for reciprocation in the compaction chamber past the opening communicating with the said hopper, a discharge chute communicating at one end with the discharge opening in the compaction chamber composed of a pair of spaced apart side walls and having a discharge opening at the opposite end, bale tying means operatively positioned in the discharge chute proximal to the discharge opening in the compaction chamber, drive means for rotating the brush mounting assembly, and drive means for reciprocating the ram, comprising:

2. A leaf collector and baler as set forth in claim 1 and

3. A leaf collector and baler as set forth in claim 1 in which

4. A leaf collector and baler as set forth in claim 3 and

5. A leaf collector and baler as set forth in claim 4, and

6. A leaf collector and baler as set forth in claim 5 and

7. A leaf collector and baler as set forth in claim 5 and

8. In a leaf collector and baler having a mobile chassis, a pick-up brush assembly housing mounted on the chassis, a pick-up brush mounting assembly rotatably mounted on the said housing, a leaf collection hopper having a discharge opening on one end mounted on the chassis positioned rearwardly of the said housing so as to receive leaves from brushes on the brush assembly, means for transporting leaves in the said hopper into the compaction chamber, a compaction chamber having an opening on one side communicating with the discharge opening in the said hopper, the compaction chamber having a discharge opening on one end, a ram mounted for reciprocation in the compaction chamber past the opening communicating with the said hopper, a discharge chute communicating at one end with the discharge opening in the compaction chamber composed of a pair of spaced apart side walls and having a discharge opening at the opposite end, bale tying means operatively positioned in the discharge chute proximal to the discharge opening in the compaction chamber, drive means for rotating the brush mounting assembly, and drive means for reciprocating the ram, comprising:

9. A leaf collector and baler as set forth in claim 8, and

10. In a leaf collector and baler having a mobile chassis, a pick-up brush assembly housing mounted on the chassis, a pick-up brush mounting assembly rotatably mounted on the said housing, a leaf collection hopper having a floor and a discharge opening on one end mounted on the chassis positioned rearwardly of the said housing so as to receive leaves from brushes on the brush assembly, a compaction chamber having an opening on one side communicating with the discharge opening in the said hopper, the compaction chamber having a discharge opening on one end, a ram mounted for reciprocation in the compaction chamber past the opening communicating with the said hopper, a discharge chute communicating at one end with the discharge opening in the compaction chamber composed of a pair of spaced apart side walls and having a discharge opening at the opposite end, bale tying means operatively positioned in the discharge chute proximal to the discharge opening in the compaction chamber, drive means for rotating the brush mounting assembly, and drive means for reciprocating the ram, comprising:

11. A leaf collector and baler as set forth in claim 13 and

12. A leaf collector and baler as set forth in claim 11 and

13. A leaf collector and baler as set forth in claim 11 and

14. In a leaf collector and baler having a mobile chassis, a pick-up brush assembly housing mounted on the chassis, a pick-up brush mounting assembly rotatably mounted on the said housing, a leaf collection hopper having a discharge opening on one end mounted on the chassis positioned rearwardly of the said housing so as to receive leaves from brushes on the brush assembly, means for transporting leaves in the said hopper into a compaction chamber, a compaction chamber having an opening on one side communicating with the discharge opening in the said hopper, the compaction chamber having a discharge opening on one end, a ram mounted for reciprocation in the compaction chamber past the opening communicating with the said hopper, a discharge chute communicating at one end with the discharge opening in the compaction chamber composed of a pair of spaced apart side walls and having a discharge opening at the opposite end, bale tying means operatively positioned in the discharge chute proximal to the discharge opening in the compaction chamber, drive means for rotating the brush mounting assembly, and drive means for reciprocating the ram, compising:

15. A leaf collector and baler as set forth in claim 18 and

16. In a leaf collector and baler having a mobile chassis, a pick-up brush assembly housing mounted on the chassis, a pick-up brush mounting assembly rotatably mounted on the said housing, a leaf collection hopper having a discharge opening on one end mounted on the chassis positioned rearwardly of the said housing so as to receive leaves from brushes on the brush assembly, means for transporting leaves in the said hopper to a compaction chamber, a compaction chamber having an opening on one side communicating with the discharge opening in the said hopper, the compaction chamber having a discharge opening on one end, a ram mounted for reciprocation in the compaction chamber past the opening communicating with the said hopper, a discharge chute communicating at one end with the discharge opening in the compaction chamber composed of a pair of spaced apart side walls and having a discharge opening at the opposite end, bale tying means operatively positioned in the discharge chute proximal to the discharge opening in the compaction chamber, drive means for rotating the brush mounting assembly, and drive means for reciprocating the ram, comprising:

Description:
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

In both urban and suburban areas as well as in an increasingly greater number of rural areas, the burning of leaves has been prohibited to avoid air pollution among other things. As a consequence, local governments have been compelled to provide for the removal of leaves collected by land owners.

In many urban and suburban communities, the land owner sweeps leaves into the gutter of the street where they are collected by municipal employees. The usual street sweeping apparatus adapted to collect limited quantities of paper refuse and particulate matter is not well-suited to the collection of leaves and is sometimes stalled by large accumulations of leaves.

However, the greatest problem lies in the disposal of leaves by local governments once they have been collected. The usual street sweeping apparatus collects the leaves in a large, hollow hopper. They must then be transported to some suitable solid waste disposal area. This generates two problems: firstly, the loose, uncompacted mass of leaves is difficult to transport because of its loose bulk; secondly, when deposited in a solid waste landfill area in loose bulk, leaves may be easily scattered by the winds which is undesirable for many reasons.

Consequently, there is great need for a device which not only collects leaves but which can compact the leaves into a bound bale which may be easily transported and which will not permit scattering. The present invention is directed toward such a leaf collector and baler.

In devising the present invention, a well known hay baler has been adapted and modified to function as a leaf collector and baler in order to avoid the necessity of constructing an entirely new device. The leaf collector and baler disclosed and claimed herein was fashioned from a modified International Harvester No. 46 baler which is well known in the art and which is disclosed in great detail in publications of the International Harvester Company of Chicago, Illinois.

The problems and the solutions to the problems presented by the collection and baling of hay are distinctly different than the problems and the solution to the problems of the collection and baling of leaves.

Firstly, hay comprises long filaments which tend to intertwine providing a degree of cohesiveness for large relatively loosely compacted bundles. Leaves on the other hand are flat, broad and relatively short. Leaves do not intertwine and therefore exhibit little cohesion when loosely compacted.

Additionally, the lattice-like network of intertwined filaments of hay permit the substantially unimpeded escape of air from within the mass during compaction. Even when compacted, the bale of hay is sufficiently porous to permit air to move relatively freely into or out of the bale. Leaves on the other hand tend to entrap air during compaction as well as during transport.

Hay is collected from an open field generally free of foreign matter particularly soil and pulverized rock. This is a function not only of the ambient conditions of collection of hay but also the particular pick-up means provided by the well-known hay baler. However, the ambient conditions of the pick-up of leaves is commonly substantially different. Leaves collected in gutters of a street include a relatively substantial quantity of particulate debris in the form of pulverized stone, salt, dirt and the like. The inclusion of such debris in the leaves greatly increases the forces required for compaction to such an extent that if unseparated frequently result in stalling or damaging the compaction apparatus.

It is desirable to avoid picking up as much debris as possible with the leaves. The commonly employed fiber rotary brush of the street sweeper particularly those street sweepers employing vacuum are calculated to pick up such particulate debris which is highly undesirable in the case of the collection of leaves. On the other hand, the pick-up means employed by the common hay baler are virtually non-functional for picking up leaves. As a consequence, the leaf collector and baler disclosed and claimed herein is provided with a unique pick-up brush assembly devised specifically for the efficient pick-up of leaves leaving as much particulate debris as possible behind.

Additionally, the hay baler above referred to employs a rotary auger for transporting hay from a collection hopper toward a compaction chamber. The auger is non-functional when employed with leaves. The leaves intruding between the walls of the collection hopper and the auger until the auger binds and stalls. In order to solve this problem, the leaf collector and baler disclosed and claimed herein employs a unique pair of reciprocating sweeps which reciprocate in alternate timed relationship to each other to transport leaves along the hopper into the compaction chamber. Additionally, the floor of the leaf collection hopper is provided with a plurality of openings for the gravitational discharge of particulate debris entrained among the leaves which is shaken loose by the action of the reciprocating sweeps. Moreover, the openings provide for the quick discharge of entrapped air among the leaves which should be removed as much as possible before introduction into the compaction chamber.

During compaction, there must also be means for the discharge of entrapped air to prevent binding and stalling of the compaction ram which means include openings in the side of the compaction chamber distal to the collection hopper.

Bales of hay are considerably more porous and compressible than bales of leaves. In order to insure a relatively compacted bale of hay, restrictive tensioning wedges are provided in the discharge chute of the common hay baler some distance from the discharge end of the compaction chamber. However, the use of such restrictive wedges so positioned in a leaf collector and baler results in excessive compression of the leaves binding and stalling the ram. Consequently, the leaf collector and baler described and claimed herein has but one pair of strategically located restrictive tensioning wedges on the opposed side walls of the discharge chute immediately proximal to the discharge end of the compaction chamber.

Another phenomenon of the compaction of leaves not found in the compaction of hay is the tendency for leaves to compact to varying degrees across the compaction chamber, the leaves becoming most heavily compacted distal to the discharge end of the collection hopper. Consequently, the mass of leaves ejected from the compaction chamber by the ram is substantially more dense along the side wall of the discharge chute distal to the collection hopper and most proximal to the compaction chamber.

The common hay baler is provided with a relatively narrow tensioning rail extending longitudinally along the top of the discharge chute at its medium. The top of the discharge chute is open on opposite sides of the rail.

In the case of a leaf collector and baler, the heavily compacted leaves on the side of the discharge chute distal to the collection hopper bulge upwardly through this opening in the top of the chute. Consequently, the leaf collector and baler disclosed and claimed herein is provided with a buffeting plate extending between the rib and the distal side wall of the chute proximal to the compaction chamber which forces the leaves downwardly and toward the opposite wall resulting in a bale which is more homogeneously compacted.

The common hay baler above referred to is provided with an axial, generally elongated rail along its bottom for support of the bale. However, leaves require greater support particularly avoiding presssure concentrated along a relatively narrow rail which tends to cause the leaves to bulge downwardly on opposite sides of the rail breaking loose from the compacted mass while sliding along the rail. Consequently, the leaf collector and baler disclosed and claimed herein is provided with a discharge chute having a flat floor along its entire length extending laterally to the proximity of the side walls. Nevertheless, the floor is not attached to the side walls but rather spaced away therefrom providing elongated slots of the discharge of air and particulate matter which would tend to bind and stall the ram.

The variations above referred to between the well-known hay baler and the leaf collector and baler disclosed and claimed herein both individually and collectively result in a unique apparatus specifically adapted for the collection and baling of leaves particularly in urban and suburban streets wherein they have accumulated together with significant quantities of particulate debris.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

A leaf collector and baler having a mobile chassis, a pick-up brush assembly housing mounted on the chassis, a pick-up brush assembly rotatably mounted on the said housing, a leaf collection hopper mounted on the chassis positioned rearwardly of the said housing so as to receive leaves from brushes on the brush mounting assembly, a compaction chamber having an opening on one side communicating with a discharge opening on one end of the said hopper, the compaction chamber having a discharge opening on one end, a ram mounted for reciprocation in the compaction chamber past the opening communicating with the said hopper, a discharge chute communicating at one end with the discharge opening in the compaction chamber composed of a pair of spaced apart side walls and having a discharge opening at the opposite end, bale tying means operatively positioned in the discharge chute proximal to the discharge opening in the compaction chamber, drive means for rotating the brush assembly, drive means for reciprocating the ram, a plurality of generally horizontal brush mounting bars mounted to and for rotation with the brush mounting assembly, the said bars being positioned circumferentially about and displaced radially outwardly from the axis of rotation of the brush mounting assembly, resilient brush filaments attached to the said bars along their length extending generally radially outwardly from the axis of rotation of said brush mounting assembly, a plate mounted on each of said bars extending generally along its length and extending generally toward the next adjacent bar opposite the direction of rotation of the brush mounting assembly, a pair of spaced apart sweeps operatively mounted on the collection hopper, the respective sweeps reciprocating across the floor of the hopper in the direction of and at different distances from the compaction chamber and substantially above the floor of the hopper in the opposite direction, timing means operatively connected among the respective sweeps and the ram, positively timing the reciprocation of the sweeps both with respect to each other and to the reciprocation of the ram, the collection hopper having openings in its bottom generally proximal to the collection chamber, the compaction chamber having an opening in its side wall distal to the collection hopper, opposed bale tensioning means on the side walls of the discharge chute proximal to the compaction chamber, a top plate on the discharge chute proximal to the compaction chamber extending at least from the mid-line of the discharge chute to the side wall distal to the collection hopper, the remainder of the side walls of the discharge chute having no substantial bale tensioning means, a floor on the discharge chute extending from the compaction chamber to the discharge end of said chute, the said floor having opposed longitudinally elongated openings proximal to the respective side walls of said chute.

PREFERRED EMBODIMENT OF INVENTION

The objects and advantages as aforesaid as well as other objects and advantages may be achieved by the leaf collector and baler claimed herein, a preferred embodiment of which is illustrated in the drawings in which:

FIG. 1 is a top plan view of the leaf collector and baler disclosed herein with portions broken away;

FIG. 2 is a side elevational view of the leaf collector and baler illustrated in FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a front elevational view of the leaf collector and baler illustrated in FIG. 1;

FIG. 4 is a rear elevational view of the leaf collector and baler illustrated in FIG. 1;

FIG. 5 is a side elevational view of the leaf collector and baler showing the side opposite that shown in FIG. 2.

Referring now to the drawings in detail, the leaf collector comprises a chassis 11 supported on opposite sides by wheels 12, 12. A pickup brush housing 13 is pivotably mounted to the chassis 11, the pivot point being concentric with the longitudinal axis of the chassis 11. The front end of the pickup brush housing 13 is supported by a rotatable guide wheel 14.

The pickup brush housing 13 comprises a pair of spaced apart, upstanding side walls 15 and 16 which in turn support a driven rotatable pickup brush 17 mounted therebetween. Additionally, a flexible drag apron 18 is mounted across the side walls 15 and 16 at the rear of the pickup brush housing 13.

A leaf collection hopper 19 is mounted on the chassis 11 generally rearwardly of the front of the pickup brush housing 13. The leaf collection hopper 19 comprises a pair of spaced apart, generally upstanding side walls 20 and 21 which partially overlap side walls 15 and 16 respectively of the pickup brush housing 13. The leaf collection hopper 19 is provided with a bottom floor 22 and a generally upstanding rear wall 23. The intersection of the floor 22 and rear wall 23 proximal to the side wall 20 is arcuate tapering gradually to an angular intersection adjacent the opposite side wall 21. Additionally, the leaf collection hopper 19 is provided with a top 24.

The leaf collector is also provided with a power take-off and clutch assembly 25 operatively connected through a reduction gear transmission 26 to various drive means located within a hollow generally elongated rectangular housing 27.

Rearwardly of the housing 27 is a generally rectangular bale chamber and plunger assembly 28. Rearwardly of the bale chamber and plunger assembly is a bale chute 29 which includes at its forward end a bale tying assembly 30.

The basic elements of the leaf collector as hereinbefore cataloged are, with the exceptions hereinafter noted, standard parts of the model 46 twine baler manufactured and sold by the International Harvester Company of Chicago, Illinois. The respective parts of the leaf collector which are common to the said twine baler are described in greater detail in publications of the International Harvester Company relating to the twine baler. Except insofar as the previously described component parts vary from the component parts of the No. 46 twine baler aforesaid, the parts will not be described in greater detail except as it may be necessary for a clear understanding of the structural and functional characteristics of the leaf baler described and claimed herein.

PICK-UP BRUSH

The problems and their solution associated with the pick-up and baling of leaves are substantially different than the problems and their solutions to picking up hay. The physical characteristics of leaves and hay are different as are the conditions under which they are routinely picked up.

Hay is comprised of long, thin shafts which intertwine. Hay is normally picked up from an earthen field wherein the earth is usually well packed into large clumps.

Leaves, on the other hand, are relatively short, flat, broad members which mat rather than intertwine. Additionally, leaves are usually picked up in suburban gutters or streets containing large quantities of fine particulate granular matter in the form of pulverized dirt or stone. As a consequence, the rotary pick-up brush 17 of the present invention is substantially different in both structure and function than the rotary pick-up tines employed in the baler above referred to.

Basically, the hay baling device employs a plurality of generally horizontal tooth bars, each of which support a single row of relatively rigid tines which are spring-loaded at their base. Intermediate the tines are a plurality of arcuate strippers which function to strip picked up hay from the rows of tines. Such a mechanism is non-functional with respect to picking up leaves.

The pick-up brush 17 of the present invention comprises a plurality of generally horizontal bars 31 generally equivalent to the tooth bars of the baler above described. The bars extend between mounting members 32 and 33 which are structurally and functionally the same as the mounting members of the above described baler and need be described in no greater detail.

However, the horizontal bars 31 support a plurality of thin, flexible brushes 34 which are positioned in spaced apart clusters along the horizontal bars, each cluster of brushes 34 fanning outwardly at their distal end to generally either engage or lie immediately contiguous to brushes from the next adjacent cluster. The brushes 34 are preferably fabricated from some durable material such as metal. Nevertheless, the brushes 34 must be flexible along their length since the leaf collector claimed herein is particularly well adapted for use on paved streets. Additionally, single, relatively rigid tines will not pick up or hold even clumped leaves much less single leaves.

Additionally, it has been found that while the brushes 34 will pick up leaves from the ground and carry them upwardly as the pick-up brush assembly 17 rotates, they tend to fall free from the ends of the brushes 34 as the orientation of the brushes 34 rise above the horizontal. In order to prevent the leaves, which do not tend to intertwine as hay from falling downwardly through the interstices between the horizontal bars 31, a plurality of plates 35 are mounted intermediate the respective horizonatal bars 31. Each plate 35 is connected to one of the horizontal bars 31 and, because the plates 35 are not subjected to excessive abrasive wear, may be conveniently fabricated of wood or some other inexpensive material.

It should also be noted that the basic baler above described is provided with a mechanism for suddenly rotating each horizontal bar 31 as it rotates from the top most position rearwardly toward the leaf collection hopper 19. This is controlled by the interaction between a roller on the end of the horizontal bar 31 and a control cam in the mounting member 32. A suitable mechanism to rotate bars 31 is disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 2,862,347 issued to N. A. Nelson on Dec. 2, 1958 and particularly illustrated in FIGS. 5, 6, 7 and 8 of said patent. The bar 31 rotates through a relatively narrow angle returning finally the brushes 34 to a plane generally including the plane of the central drive shaft 36 for the pick-up brush assembly 17.

The rapid rotary action of the horizontal bars 31 also cause a sudden rotary motion of the plate 35 attached to it. Because the leaves tend to fall downwardly onto the plates 35, the rapid rotation of each plate 35 in turn helps propel the leaves toward the leaf collection hopper 19.

The drive shaft 36 which drives the pick-up brush assembly 17 is well known. Fundamentally, the drive shaft 36 is operatively connected to the power take-off and clutch assembly 25. The drive system is broadly illustrated in FIG. 2. A sprocket 37 driven by the output shaft 38 of the transmission 26 drives a chain 39. The chain 39 passes around appropriate idler sprockets 40 and 41 driving a terminal sprocket 42. Sprocket 42 is connected to a drive shaft 43 which drives a second sprocket 44 (as shown in FIG. 1).

Sprocket 44 drives a chain 45 which in turn drives a sprocket 46 coupled to the drive shaft 36 of the pick-up brush assembly 17. Tension in chain 46 is maintained by an appropriate tensioning sprocket 47. Additionally, sprocket 46 conveniently drives a well-known slip clutch assembly which is operatively connected to the drive shaft 36 of the pick-up brush assembly 17. The slip clutch assembly is disclosed in Form GSS-1219 above referred to and need be described in no greater detail.

RAM FEED ASSEMBLY

The pick-up brush 17 propels leaves into the leaf collector hopper 19. The leaves must then be propelled at right angles to the plane of rotation of the pick-up brush 17 into the bale chamber 28.

In the case of the International Harvester baler above referred to, hay must also be propelled in the same direction into a baler assembly. However, the means for performing this function are substantially different for leaves as distinguished from hay.

Hay is propelled in the well-known above baler by means of an auger. However, the auger type feed mechanism was found to be non-functional for leaves. The leaves intruded between the auger and the hopper in which it was mounted eventually camming the auger altogether.

In the present invention, a pair of reciprocating sweeps 48 and 49 are employed which reciprocate in timed relationship to each other. The sweeps 48 and 49 are also articulated such that they not only move toward and away from the bale chamber 28 but also upwardly and downwardly in timed relationship to their longitudinal movement.

The reciprocating sweep 48 distal from the bale chamber 28 consists of a pair of articulated arms 50 and 51 pivotably connected to each other. Arm 51 is pivotably mounted to a fitting 52 on the top 24 of the leaf collector hopper 19. Arm 50 is pivotably mounted to a rotary yoke 53 mounted intermediate the rear wall 23 of the leaf collector hopper 19 and a fitting 54 depending from the top 24 thereof. The free end of arm 50 is provided with a plurality of flexible brushes 55 and a sweep plate 56.

The yoke 53 is driven by means of a chain 57 connected between a sprocket 58 mounted on the terminal end of shaft 59 mounting yoke 53 to the fitting 54 and a second sprocket 60. Sprocket 60 is mounted on a driven shaft 61 carrying gear 62. Gear 62 is in turn meshed with a second gear 63 mounted on a drive shaft 64. The opposite end of drive shaft 64 carries a bevel gear 65 meshed with another bevel gear 66 on the power output shaft 38 of the transmission 26.

Reciprocating sweep 49 is similar in all respects to the picker fingers. Reciprocating sweep 49 comprises a pair of pivotably engaged articulated arms 67 and 68. Arm 68 is pivotably mounted to a fitting 69 on the top 24 of the leaf collection hopper 19.

Arm 67 is pivotably connected to a yoke 70 carrying three spaced apart, relatively rigid tines 71. Yoke 70 is driven by gear 62 which in turn is operatively connected to sprocket 60 governing timing chain 57 for the other reciprocating sweep 48.

In operation, both sweeps 48 and 49 move both horizontally and vertically. Sweep 48 first moves from the position shown in FIG. 3 downwardly and toward the bale chamber 28 sweeping along the floor 22 of the leaf collection hopper 19. Meanwhile, sweep 49 has passed through its stroke toward the bale chamber 28 and is moving upwardly and then away from the bale chamber 28.

As sweep 48 reaches the end of its stroke proximal to the bale chamber 28, the second reciprocating sweep 49 is moving downwardly and forwardly toward the bale chamber 28 engaging the leaves propelled by the reciprocating sweep 48 further towards the bale chamber 28.

Reciprocating sweep 48 employs brushes 55 by reason of the fact that the leaves tend to be less closely packed at the side of the leaf collection hopper 19 distal to the bale chamber 28. However, proximal to the bale chamber 28, the leaves are more densely packed and require only the use of the spaced apart tines 71 of reciprocating sweep 49.

It was indicated earlier that leaves tended to accumulate a substantial quantity of fine granular or particulate matter comprising pulverized stone or dirt. This matter, when trapped in clumped leaves tends to be extremely unyielding placing great burden upon the power train of the leaf collector. Additionally, leaves tend to accumulate pockets of air particularly along the floor 22 of the leaf collection hopper 19 proximal to the bale chamber 28. Consequently, in the present invention, a plurality of openings 72 have been provided in the floor of the leaf collection hopper 19 proximal to the bale chamber 28. Holes 72 provide means discharging fine particular matter as well as air as the leaves are propelled toward the bale chamber 28. If the particulate matter is not substantially relieved in the leaf collection hopper 19, the ram associated with the bale chamber 28 tends to bind.

BALING ASSEMBLY

The baling assembly in the leaf collector disclosed and claimed herein is similar in many respects to the baler assembly of the International Harvester Company baler referred to above. Basically, leaves are propelled from the leaf collection hopper 19 into a generally rectangular compaction chamber 73 closed on the top and bottom and the side opposite the leaf collection hopper 19. A power ram 74 is reciprocably positioned at the front of the chamber 73 and is adapted to force the leaves deposited in the chamber 73 rearwardly against restriction means hereinafter described forming a compacted mass. The compacted leaves propelled from the compaction chamber 73 pass downwardly through a bale chute 29. When the bale has reached a predetermined length from front to rear, a well known bale tying apparatus is energized to tie the bale with twine. Successive bales force preceding bales downwardly through the chute 29 to be discharged at the open rear end thereof.

The ram drive mechanism is substantially identical to the ram drive mechanism of the International Harvester baler above referred to and comprises broadly a rotatable yoke 75 operatively connected to and powered by the transmission 26. The yoke 75 is pivotably connected to a ram shaft 76 the opposite end of which is attached to a plunger 77. The plunger 77 is adapted to reciprocate forwardly and rearwardly through the compaction chamber 73.

The exterior side wall 78 of the compaction chamber 73 intermediate the position of the rear-most tine 71 and the needle mechanism for tying the bale has been provided with a plurality of air escape openings 79. It was found that leaves exhibit the phenomenon of trapping air within their mass which air must be relieved otherwise the wall 78 tended to buckle outwardly. Additionally, unrelieved air generated such significant back pressure upon the ram 74 that there was danger of damage to shear pins in the power train or to the transmission itself.

In the International Harvester baler aforesaid, bale restriction means in the nature of wedges placed upon the interior of the walls of the bale chute were provided to generate back pressure upon the forming bale to enhance compaction. Nevertheless, it has been found that in the case of the leaf baler disclosed and claimed herein, restriction means must be placed proximal to the rearmost position of the ram in its stroke. Leaves do not exhibit the same compaction characteristics as hay and as a consequence, must be tightly compacted prior to leaving the compaction chamber 73.

As a consequence, restrictive wedges 80, 80 were placed upon the side walls of chute 29 at the rear end of the compaction chamber 73. Still further, the restrictive wedges employed in the International Harvester baler rearwardly of the compaction 73 were removed so that the internal side walls of the chute 29 are free of structures which restrict the movement of the bale rearwardly. It has been found that if restrictive wedges are employed in the bale chute 29 distal to the compaction chamber 73, the bale becomes excessively compacted to such an extent as to stall the ram 74.

The chute 29 comprises a pair of spaced apart side walls 81 and 82 and a floor 83. The floor 83 is slightly more narrow than the space between walls 81 and 82 to provide a pair of relatively narrow elongated openings 84, 84 between the respective side walls 81 and 82 and the floor 83. The International Harvester baler above referred to is not provided with a floor of the character of the leaf collector disclosed and claimed herein but rather a merely very narrow strip. Nevertheless, it has been found that because of the different characteristics between leaves and hay, that leaves tend to drop through a relatively large opening in the bottom of the chute 29 when supported on such a narrow rail as was provided in the baler. Additionally, the openings 84, 84 provide escape for granular dirt, stones and the like which accumulate with leaves in suburban streets.

Additionally, the leaf bale tends to deform around a relatively narrow bottom rail ultimately resulting in a jam of the bale in the chute 29. The floor 83 prevents this occurrence.

The chute 29 is also provided with a top tension rail 85 extending rearwardly from the compaction chamber 73 along the top of the chute 29. It has been found that leaves compact in the compaction chamber 73 in an unusual fashion. Firstly, the leaves tend to compact along the side wall of the compaction chamber 73 distal to the leaf collection hopper 19. When leaves are then forced rearwardly by the ram 74 and forced past the restrictive wedges 80, 80 at the discharge end of the compaction chamber 73, they tend to bulge upwardly against the rail 85. However, the pressure is greatest along the side of the chute 29 distal to the leaf collection hopper 19. In order to prevent this upwardly bulging, a plate 86 is provided between side wall 82 and the rail 85 proximal to the discharge end of the compaction chamber 73.

Additionally, plate 86 tends to force the more heavily compacted mass of leaves toward side wall 81 of the chute 29 thereby more evenly compacting the mass of leaves prior to baling.

The length of the bale may be predetermined by means of a star wheel 87 which measures the length of the bale passing therebeneath and, at a predetermined length energizes the bale tying mechanism. The bale tying mechanism is wellknown in the art and need be described in no greater detail.

By reason of the extreme tendency of compacted leaves to expand, the side walls 81 and 82 of chute 29 have been provided with reinforcing bars 88 and 89 interconnected by time members 90, 90 on the top and bottom of the chute 29.

Additionally, the tension rail 85 extending axially along the top of the chute 29 is provided with an adjustable top tensioning bar 91 which is connected to a bottom bar 92 engaged through fittings 93, 93 to the floor 83 by means of tie rods 94, 94. The ends of tie rods 94, 94 extending through the tensioning bar 91 are threaded and engage a threaded boss which may be turned by handles 95, 95 for adjustment. Thus, the distance between the tensioning rail 85 and the floor 83 of the chute 29 may be adusted to vary the degree of tension placed upon the bales placing therebetween.

The side wall 82 of discharge chute 29 is also provided with additional openings 96 for the discharge of entrapped air as the bale progresses rearwardly through the chute to the discharge end thereof. In this regard, it should be borne in mind that the back pressure against the ram 74 accumulates from a number of sources. The elongated opening 84 cooperate with the openings 96 to release air while the openings 84 also function to discharge residual accumulated particulate debris.

In operation, the power take-off and clutch assembly 25 is operatively connected to a power take-off on some convenient mobile drive mechanism such as a tractor. The entire leaf collector and baler is towed by the tractor rolling on wheels 12, 12. However, rotary power supplied by the tractor through the power take-off and clutch assembly 25 and the power train above described provides motor force for the pick-up brush 17, the reciprocating sweeps 48 and 49, the ram 74 and the bale tying mechanism which in and of itself has not been described in detail because it is well known in the art.

The pick-up brush housing 13 is pivotably mounted to the chassis 11 and may be moved upwardly and downwardly away from and toward the road 97. The height of the brushes 34 may be governed by controlling the degree of pivot of the housing 13 on the chassis 11. An arm 98 is rigidly attached to the pick-up brush housing 13 forwardly of its pivotal juncture with the chassis 11. The arm 98 extends generally upwardly and rearwardly along the side wall 20 of the leaf collection hopper 19. The arm 98 is provided with a spring loaded pin 99 projectable through a plurality of spaced apart holes 100, 100 in a reinforced portion of the side wall 20 of the leaf collection hopper 19. Hence, the height of the brushes 34 from the road 97 may be governed by pivoting the pick-up brush housing 13 about the chassis 11 fixing its position by means of intruding the pin 99 in one of the openings 100 in the reinforced portion of the side wall 20 of the leaf collection hopper.

The foregoing description is merely intended to illustrate an embodiment of the invention. The component parts have been shown and described. They each may have substitutes which may perform a substantially similar function; such substitutes may be known as proper substitutes for the said components and may have actually been known or invented before the present invention.