Title:
Bendable apparatus for directing a jet of air produced by force of breath into a fire
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Described is an apparatus for use by an individual to direct at a fire a jet of air produced by force of breath. The tool includes a rigid tubular member having a bore extending therethrough. The bore has an air-entrance end and a heat-resistant air-exit end. A flexible tubular member, that is bendable at one or more points along a length thereof, has a bore extending therethrough. The bore of the flexible tubular member has an air-entrance end into which the individual can blow air and an air-exit end. The air-exit end of the bore of the flexible tubular member is coupled to the air-entrance end of the bore of the rigid tubular member. The coupled bores together define a passageway for directing the air blown by the individual into the air-entrance end of the flexible tubular member to the heat-resistant air-exit end of the rigid tubular member.



Inventors:
Etherington, Ben (Devon, PA, US)
Etherington, Luke (Scituate, MA, US)
Application Number:
10/842170
Publication Date:
11/10/2005
Filing Date:
05/10/2004
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
126/25B
International Classes:
F23L1/00; F23L5/00; F23N5/20; F23N5/22; (IPC1-7): F23N5/22; F23N5/20
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
BASICHAS, ALFRED
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Schmeiser, Olsen & Watts LLP (33 Boston Post Road West Suite 410, MARLBOROUGH, MA, 01752, US)
Claims:
1. A tool for use by an individual to direct at a fire a jet of air produced by force of breath, the tool comprising: a rigid tubular member having a bore extending therethrough, the bore of the rigid tubular member having an air-entrance end and a heat-resistant air-exit end; and a flexible tubular member, bendable at one or more points along a length thereof, having a bore extending therethrough, the bore of the flexible tubular member having an air-entrance end into which the individual can blow air and an air-exit end, the air-exit end of the bore of the flexible tubular member being coupled to the air-entrance end of the bore of the rigid tubular member such that the bores together define a passageway for directing the air blown by the individual into the air-entrance end of the flexible tubular member to the heat-resistant air-exit end of the rigid tubular member.

2. The tool of claim 1, further comprising a coupling device coupling the air-exit end of the flexible tubular member to the air-entrance end of the rigid tubular member.

3. The tool of claim 1, further comprising a mouthpiece connected to the bore of the flexible tubular member at the air-entrance end of the flexible tubular member for use by the individual to blow in air.

4. The tool of claim 1, further comprising an insulating sleeve around the flexible tubular member.

5. The tool of claim 4, wherein a material of the insulating sleeve includes neoprene.

6. The tool of claim 1, further comprising a protective sleeve around the flexible tubular member.

7. The tool of claim 1, wherein the air-exit end of the rigid tubular member has a flared shape.

8. The tool of claim 1, wherein a diameter of the rigid tubular member is approximately ¼ inch for producing a concentrated stream of air when the user blows into the tool.

9. The tool of claim 1, wherein the rigid tubular member has a straight shape from the air-entrance end of the rigid tubular member to the heat-resistant air-exit end.

10. An apparatus for use by an individual to blow air at a fire, comprising: rigid means for providing a first air passageway having an air-entrance end and an heat-resistant air-exit end; and bendable means for providing a second air passageway having an air-entrance end and an air-exit end, the second air passageway being bendable at one or more points along a length thereof, the air-exit end of the second air passageway being coupled to the air-entrance end of the first air passageway such that the coupled first and second air passageways together provide a combined air passageway for directing air blown by the individual into the air-entrance end of the second air passageway to the air-exit end of the first air passageway.

11. The apparatus of claim 9, further comprising means for coupling the air-exit end of the second air passageway to the air-entrance end of the first air passageway.

12. The apparatus of claim 9, further comprising means for directing air into the air-entrance end of the second air passageway.

13. The apparatus of claim 9, further comprising means for insulating the bendable means from heat.

14. The apparatus of claim 9, further comprising means for protecting the bendable means from an external source of potentially damage.

15. The apparatus of claim 9, further comprising means for retaining a shape into which the individual bends the bendable means.

16. The apparatus of claim 9, further comprising means for dispersing the air outward from the heat resistant air-exit end of first air passageway of the rigid means.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The invention relates generally to blowpipes for directing blown air into a fire.

BACKGROUND

A well-known principle of inflaming a fire is to blow air over its hot embers. The blown air concentrates and increases the heat so that the nearby fuel ignites into flame. For this purpose, people have devised various tools for blowing directed air. One type of such tool, referred to as a bellows, mechanically draws in air through a valve and expels air through a tube by alternately expanding and contracting. Another type relies upon the force of breath. Tools of this type include long, straight cylindrical tubes or pipes. In general, a user blows into one end of the tube and the blown air exits a hole at the opposite end.

The effectiveness of these tubes to inflame the fire depends upon the user's ability to deliver the air flow to a hot spot. Usually, such hot spots are among the embers at the base of the fire, for example, below a fireplace grill or behind other burning logs. Long straight tubes, however, offer little flexibility as to where the user may stand with respect to the fire when operating the tool. To bring the end hole of the straight tube into proximity of the glowing embers and then to blow into it, the user may need to stand or crouch awkwardly. As a result, the user may be uncomfortably close to the heat of the fire or too far removed from the fire to produce an effective jet of air. There is, therefore, a need for a tool for inflaming fires that users can operate conveniently and within comfortable distance of the fire.

SUMMARY

In one aspect, the invention features a tool for directing blown air at a fire. The tool includes a rigid tubular member having a bore extending therethrough. The bore of the rigid tubular member has an air-entrance end and a heat-resistant air-exit end. A flexible tubular member that is bendable at one or more points along a length thereof has a bore extending therethrough. The bore of the flexible tubular member has an air-entrance end into which the individual can blow air and an air-exit end. The air-exit end of the bore of the flexible tubular member is coupled to the air-entrance end of the bore of the rigid tubular member. Together the coupled bores define a passageway for directing the air blown into the air-entrance end of the flexible tubular member by the individual to the heat-resistant air-exit end of the rigid tubular member.

In another aspect, the invention features an apparatus for use by an individual to blow air at a fire. The apparatus includes rigid means for providing a first air passageway having an air-entrance end and a heat-resistant air-exit end, and bendable means for providing a second air passageway having an air-entrance end into which the individual can blow air and an air-exit end. The bendable means is bendable at one or more points along a length thereof. The air-exit end of the second air passageway is coupled to the air-entrance end of the first air passageway. Together the coupled first and second air passageways provide a combined air passageway for directing air blown by the individual into the air-entrance end of the second air passageway to the air-exit end of the first air passageway.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The above and further advantages of this invention may be better understood by referring to the following description in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which like numerals indicate like structural elements and features in various figures. The drawings are not necessarily to scale, emphasis instead being placed upon illustrating the principles of the invention.

FIG. 1 is an isometric view of an embodiment of an apparatus, constructed in accordance with the invention, for directing a jet of air produced by force of breath into a fire, the apparatus, also referred to herein as a fire persuader, including a rigid portion and a flexible portion.

FIG. 2 is an exploded side view of an air-entrance end of the rigid portion being coupled to an air-exit end of the flexible portion shown in FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is an exploded side view of a mouthpiece being attached to an air-entrance end of the flexible portion.

FIG. 4 is a side view of an embodiment of an air-exit end of the rigid portion shown in FIG. 1, the air-exit end having a flared tip.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

The present invention features an apparatus for use in kindling and rekindling indoor and outdoor fires, e.g., in fireplaces or campfires. By using the apparatus, an individual can supply additional air to pinpoint locations of the fire and consequently increase the flames. In brief overview, the apparatus includes an elongate tube. Air blown into one end of the tube exits at the other end. An individual positions the exit end near or in the fire. A portion of the apparatus is bendable, permitting the individual to shape the apparatus so that air can be blown into the fire from a comfortable position. Because of the apparatus' shapeable construction, the individual can reach the apparatus into the lower regions of the fire from a variety of stances. Also, dimensions of elongate tube produce a concentrated, high-pressured stream of air that can more aggressively fan a fire than traditional tools, such as blow-pokes, which generally have considerably larger dimensions (i.e., a 1 inch diameter) and produce a less concentrated stream of air.

Also, a portion of the apparatus has sufficient strength to enable the individual to poke, lift, and turn logs, coals, and embers in order to stoke the flame. A length of the apparatus permits the individual to blow on the fire from a comfortable distance away from the fire's heat. Some embodiments of the apparatus employ an insulating cover to shield the hollow tube from excessive heat. This covering can operate to maintain a bent shape of the bendable tube.

FIG. 1 shows an embodiment of a fire persuader 2 constructed in accordance with the principles of the invention. The fire persuader 2 includes a flexible portion 4 and a rigid portion 6. The flexible portion 4 includes a mouthpiece 8, through which the individual can blow air into the fire persuader 2, and a bendable tubular member 10. The bendable tubular member 10 has a bore extending therethrough. The bore has an air-entrance end and an air-exit end. The mouthpiece 8 is coupled to the air-entrance end of the bendable tubular member 10. As shown, the bendable tubular member 10 can bend at one or more points along a length thereof. In a preferred embodiment, the bendable member 10 retains the shape into which it has been bent. In another embodiment, the bendable member 10 is resilient, and returns to a substantially straight shape when the bending force is removed.

The rigid portion 6 includes an elongate, straight, cylindrical, rigid tubular member 12 and a coupling device 14. The rigid tubular member 12 also has a bore extending therethrough, with an air-entrance end and a heat-resistant air-exit end 16. The coupling device 14 joins the air-exit end of the bendable tubular member 10 to the air-entrance end of the rigid tubular member 12. The tubular members 10, 12 are joined so that their respective bores define a passageway for the air blown by the individual into the mouthpiece 8. This passageway extends from the air-entrance end of the bendable tubular member 10 to the heat-resistant air-exit end 16 of the rigid tubular member 12. Air blown into the mouthpiece 8 passes through the bendable and rigid tubular members 10, 12 to exit at the heat-resistant air-exit end 16 of the rigid tubular member 12. Also, the coupling device 14 provides a locus at which to hold the fire persuader 2 for directing the air-exit end 16 towards certain significant places in the fire. The individual can, by holding the rigid tubular member 12 near the coupling device 14, use the rigid portion 6 as a poker to stoke the fire.

In one embodiment, the bendable tubular member 10 (when straightened) is 24 inches in length and the rigid tubular member 12 is 20 inches in length. Such lengths enable the individual to rekindle the fire at a comfortable distance from the fire's heat. Fire persuaders of other lengths can be constructed without departing from the principles of the invention.

FIG. 2 shows a side view of the air-entrance end of the rigid tubular member 12 being joined to the air-exit end of the bendable tubular member 10 by the coupling device 14. The bendable tubular member 10 includes a flexible inner tube 20 and a sleeve 22. The tube 20 can be opaque or clear, and made of natural or synthetic rubber, elastomer, plastic, or any bendable material. Flexible tubes of varying resistance to heat can be used to practice the invention. In one embodiment, the tube 20 has an inner diameter 24 of ¼ inch (6.35 mm) and an outer diameter of ⅜ inch (9.525 mm).

The sleeve 22 can be made of a synthetic rubber, e.g., neoprene and polychloroprene, or any other material that can effectively insulate and protect the tube 20 from the heat of the fire and possible puncture during use. Depending upon its type of material, the sleeve 22 can also provide structure for retaining the shape into which the bendable tubular member 10 is bent. Other embodiments of the fire persuader 2 do not employ the sleeve 22, in particular, those embodiments in which the inner tube 20 has sufficient heat-resistant characteristics. In FIG. 2, the sleeve 22 only partially encloses the inner tube 20 and leaves a portion of the tube's outer surface exposed. In a preferred embodiment, the sleeve 22 fully surrounds the tube 20 and extends to the air-exit end of the tube 20.

The rigid tubular member 12 is a cylindrical pipe made of metal, e.g., stainless steel, copper, brass. Metals other than those listed and materials other than metal can be used to construct the rigid member 12, provided such materials can withstand high temperatures and provide sufficient strength so the rigid member 12 can be used to move and pry over logs in the fire. In one embodiment, the rigid tubular member 12 is an automotive brake line. Preferably, the diameter of the rigid tubular member 12 is approximately ¼ inch (6.35 mm). This particular diameter size produces a concentrated and high-pressured stream of air that is more effective for inflaming a fire than an air stream having a wider diameter. Other diameter sizes can be used without departing from the principles of the invention. At the air-exit end 16 of the rigid tubular member 12 is a flared tip 40 (FIG. 4). In some embodiments, a tip portion of the rigid tubular member 12, i.e., at the air-exit end 16, is made of or coated with a fire resistant material, whereas the remainder of the rigid tubular member 12 is made of a different material (e.g., less fire resistant).

The coupling device 14 has a cylindrical narrow end 26 for coupling to the rigid tubular member 12, and a cylindrical wide end 28 for coupling to the bendable tubular member 10. In one embodiment, the coupling device 14 is made of metal, such as copper. The diameter of the narrow end 26 is slightly larger than the diameter of the rigid tubular member 12 so that one end of the rigid tubular member 10 can be press fit into the narrow end 26 of the coupling device 14. In one embodiment, the narrow end 26 has an inside diameter of approximately ¼ inch and an outside diameter of approximately ⅜ inch. In some instances, the bond between the coupling device 14 and the rigid tubular member 12 can be strengthened by the use of solder.

The diameter of the wide end 28 of the coupling device 14 is slightly larger than the combined thickness of the flexible inner tube 20 and the sleeve 22 so both the tube 20 and sleeve 22 are press fit within the wide end 28. In one embodiment, the wide end 28 has an inside diameter of approximately ½ inch and an outside diameter of approximately ⅝ inches. Alternatively, of the tube 20 and the sleeve 22 only the tube 20 enters the wide end 28, while the sleeve 22 abuts or covers an edge portion of the wide end 28 of the coupling device 14. When the bendable and rigid members 10, 12 are both joined to the coupling device 14, the bore of the flexible tube 20 abuts the bore of the rigid member 12 to provide a continuous air passageway from the mouthpiece 8 to the air-exit end 16 of the rigid tubular member 12.

Other means for coupling the bendable member 10 to the rigid member 12 can be used to practice the invention. For example, in one embodiment a fitting referred to as a reducing union holds the bendable and rigid members 10, 12 firmly together with the use of screws and clamps that tighten around the flexible and rigid tubes.

In alternate embodiments, the coupling device 14 is optional. In such embodiments, either the diameter of the rigid tubular member 12 is smaller than that of the flexible tube 20 or the diameter of the flexible tube 20 is smaller than that of the rigid tubular member 12, and, accordingly, the two cylindrical tubes can be joined by closely press fitting one into the other.

FIG. 3 shows a side view of the mouthpiece 8 being joined to flexible tube 20 at the air-entrance end 29 of the bendable tubular member 10. The mouthpiece 8 can be made of a variety of materials, e.g., plastic. Other materials can be used without departing from the principles of the invention. The mouthpiece 8 is an optional, although preferred component. Without the mouthpiece 8, an individual can still practice the principles of the invention without the mouthpiece 8 by blowing into tube 20.

The mouthpiece 8 has a ribbed shank 30, an edge stop 32, a lip region 34, and a bore 36 extending therethrough. The ribbed shank 30 enters the bore of the flexible tube 20 at the air-entrance end 29 of the bendable tubular member 10. The ribs of the shank 30 are back-angled or barbed to prevent the mouthpiece 8 from retracting from the tube 20. The inside surface of the flexible tube 20 at the air-entrance end 29 may be threaded to receive the ribbed shank 30.

The edge stop 32 determines the fullest extent of entry of the shank 30 into the tube 20. In general, the mouthpiece plugs tightly into the tube 20. When the mouthpiece 8 is fully inserted into the bore, the edge stop 32 abuts the end of the flexible tube 20. The lip region 34 has a contoured outer surface to provide a smooth feeling for the lips.

To use the fire persuader 2, an individual can hold the flexible portion 4 just below the mouthpiece 8 with one hand and hold the rigid portion 6 near the coupling device 14 with the other hand. From a desired position, the individual points the air-exit end 16 of the rigid portion 6 at a desired target in the fire. In this desired position, the flexible portion 4 may be bent in one or more places. The individual then blows into the mouthpiece 8. The air exits the fire persuader 2 from the air-exit end 16 in the direction of the target. To illustrate the flexibility of the fire persuader 2, consider that an individual can hold the rigid portion 6 horizontally, substantially parallel and close to the floor of the fireplace, while blowing into the mouthpiece 8 from a kneeling, a crouching, a sitting, and, provided the flexible portion 4 is long enough, a standing position.

FIG. 4 shows a side view of an embodiment of the flared tip 40 at the air-exit end 16 of the rigid tubular member 12. The degree of flaring of the flared tip 40 can be enhanced to increase the ability to catch material in the fire. As shown, the flared tip 40 is integral to the rigid tubular member 12, although other embodiments can have a flared tip 40 as a separate element that is coupled to the air-exit end 16. A curved surface or an edge of the flared tip 40 can catch onto a log better than a flat or flush air-exit end when poking and pulling the log in the fire. Also, the flared tip 40 helps prevent charcoal, burned material, and soft wood from becoming jammed in the bore of the rigid tubular member 12 when poking at the fire.

Although the invention has been shown and described with reference to specific preferred embodiments, it should be understood by those skilled in the art that various changes in form and detail may be made therein without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention as defined by the following claims. For example, other shapes for the rigid and bendable tubular members, other than cylindrical, can be used to practice the invention.