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This application claims priority to U.S. Provisional Application Ser. Nos. 60/732,505 filed Nov. 1, 2005, which is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.
The embodiments of the present invention relate to push brooms and similar cleaning implements. More particularly, the various embodiments relate to an assembly for removably yet securely connecting a handle to a push broom head.
Brooms sometimes are classified as either “push” brooms or “upright” brooms. Upright brooms are often wide and generally have relatively long bristles, typically extending from a shroud or broom head. An elongated handle having a central longitudinal axis aligned with the bristles may facilitate side-to-side sweeping of the upright broom. An end of the handle may be permanently secured within an opening in the broom head.
Push brooms generally have relatively short bristles, which may be set in a wide block, or broom head. The broom head is generally rectangular. An elongated handle may extend upwardly from the broom head and be set at an angle to facilitate pushing the broom, with a long side of the broom head facing in the direction of sweeping. Push brooms often have detachable handles. A detachable handle, among other benefits, facilitates shipping of the brooms. Additionally, depending on the configuration of the broom head, a detachable handle can permit the handle to be mounted on the broom head in the opposite direction, and thus allow sweeping in reverse direction to prolong the life of the bristles.
Conventionally, detachable handles are connected to broom heads by screwing a threaded end of the handle into a threaded aperture in the broom head. For some time, it has been known that, with such brooms, the handle has a tendency to rotate and loosen during use. Various efforts have been made to avoid this and other problems.
U.S. Pat. No. 4,194,259 discloses an industrial push broom that includes an attachment means for connecting the handle to the back of the push broom. A first flange of the attachment means is fastened to the top face of the broom, and a second flange is fastened to the rear edge of the broom. The handle extends from the intersection of the rear edge and the top face. The positioning of the attachment means is fixed with respect to the back of the broom.
U.S. Pat. No. 5,094,564 discloses a brush block assembly with latching means for maintaining the handle in an interlocked position. One end of the handle extends into a hole in the broom block. The positioning of the brush block assembly is fixed with respect to the broom block.
There remains a need for improved features for the handle connection of a push broom to facilitate removal of the handle from the broom head when desired but otherwise maintain the handle securely connected to the broom head.
A push broom having a connection assembly for securely attaching a handle to a broom head provides a strong and durable push broom. The connection assembly secures the handle in a fixed position during use so that the handle will not loosen with use. The connection assembly also allows the position of the handle to be reversed to extend first from the back face of the broom head then from the front face of the broom head. Reversing the position of the handle enables the back face of the broom head to be moved to the front and utilized for sweeping, particularly when the bristles along the front face of the broom head become worn or bent. The bracket assembly also is reusable and allows replacement of the handle and broom head separate from one another when needed.
The resulting push broom is simple to manufacture and easy to assemble, disassemble, and reassemble than previously-known brooms. Further advantages of the invention should be apparent to those skilled in the art upon reviewing the following detailed description in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.
In the detailed description which follows, reference will be made to the drawings comprised of the following figures:
FIG. 1 is a top perspective view of a portion of a push broom, including a push broom block, a handle and a bolt, in accordance with an embodiment of the invention;
FIG. 2 is a bottom perspective view of the portion of the push broom of FIG. 1, showing the bottom of the push broom block without the bristles;
FIG. 3 is a top perspective view of the push broom block of the push broom of FIG. 1;
FIG. 4 is a bottom plan view of the push broom block of FIG. 3;
FIG. 5 is an enlarged perspective view of the connection end of the handle of the push broom of FIG. 1;
FIG. 6 is a reduced end view of the handle of FIG. 5;
FIG. 7 is an enlarged perspective view of the bolt of FIG. 1; and
FIG. 8 is a cross-section of an embodiment of a broom block taken along the line 8-8 in FIG. 3 in accordance with an embodiment of the invention.
Referring to FIG. 1, a push broom 10 is shown. The push broom 10 generally includes an elongated handle 12, a broom block 14 and a securing element such as a bolt 16 to connect the handle 12 to the broom head 14. Although the connection assembly is shown and described herein with respect to a push broom, the connection assembly also could be used with other cleaning implements that are pushed forward and/or pulled back during use, including mops, dusters, sweepers and the like, and such use is contemplated as being within the scope of the invention.
The broom block 14 is generally rectangular with a raised middle portion 18 at the top surface 20. It should be noted that while broom blocks are described herein, blocks for other uses besides sweeping are also contemplated. As best shown in FIGS. 3 and 4, the middle portion 18 includes a first bore 22 and a second bore 24. In some embodiments, the internal surfaces of the bores 22 and 24 are threaded. The bores 22 and 24 extend from the top surface 20 through the bottom surface 26, angling inwardly toward one another. As can be appreciated, the raised middle portion 18 provides additional material and therefore may be useful in ensuring the block has sufficient structure to provide a desirable level of strength once the bores are added. The handle 12 can be connected to the broom block 14 by insertion into either bore 22 and 24 and when fully inserted may be visible in the other bore.
As seen in FIGS. 5 and 6, the handle 12 has a mounting end 28. The handle can be made of any conventional material (such as plastic, metal, or wood) and have any conventional or convenient length and configuration. Although the illustrated handle is straight, it could also have one or more bends or curves for added strength, convenience or ease of use and have a different length and diameter. It could also have a shaped handgrip or hanger tip at the distal end (not shown).
The tip 30 of the handle 12 includes a multi-sided portion 32. As shown, the portion 32 is generally hexagonal in the shape. In other embodiments, the portion 32 has three, four, five, seven, eight or more sides. In certain aspects, the side walls of the portion 32 will have sufficient surface area for engagement with the bolt 16 as described further herein. It should be noted that too few or too many sides can make it more difficult to securely fasten the handle 12 in position, thus the depicted hexagonal shape is one suitable compromise. In some embodiments, a portion of the mounting end 28 of the handle 12 inward of the portion 32 is threaded so as to be threadably connectable to the first and second bores 22 and 24.
Referring to FIG. 7, bolt 16 includes an end 34 of a size and shape to correspond to the bores 22 and 24. End 34 includes a distal surface 38. In some embodiments, end 34 is threaded so as to be threadably connectable to the first and second bores 22 and 24. Bolt 16 also includes a grip portion 36 opposite end 34 to facilitate connection of the bolt 16 to the broom block 14. As illustrated, bolt 16 and grip portion 36 may be shaped like a key. Other configurations that permit gripping by a user also are contemplated. Bolt 16 can be fabricated of metal, molded polymeric material or other strong, durable material. Other securing elements, such as pins or other elongate member, that include features to engage the handle 12 and limit rotation of the handle 12 are contemplated as being within the scope of the invention.
To securely connect the handle 12 to the broom block 14, mounting end 28 is inserted into the first bore 22 by twisting (with a threaded fit), pushing (with a friction fit), or other suitable method. Thus, the handle 12 is inserted into the top surface 20 of the block 14. Once inserted, the mounting end 28 extends through the first bore 22 toward the bottom end of the second bore 24. Bolt 16 is inserted into the second bore 24 by twisting (with a threaded fit), pushing (with a friction fit), or other suitable method. As the bolt 16 is inserted, the distal surface 38 contacts a side 40 of the multi-sided portion 32 of the handle 12. Bolt 16 engageably secures the handle 12 and limits rotation of the handle 12 about its axis in either direction, as best seen in FIG. 2. With a threaded connection, handle 12 can be removed from broom block 14 by first removing bolt 16, thereby allowing rotation of the handle 12.
Looking at FIG. 8, a cross-section of an illustrative broom block 14 is depicted, the view taken through the bores 22 and 24, such as along line 8-8 of FIG. 3. The broom block 14 includes the raised middle portion 18 and bores 22 and 24 (which are shown including threaded portions). The bores 22 and 24 may converge near the bottom surface 26 of the broom block 14. As can be appreciated, if the handle 12 is inserted into bore 22, the bolt 16 may be inserted into bore 24 so as to engage the handle as discussed above. As depicted, the broom block 14 includes a plurality of bristles 50 for sweeping. The bristles 50 can be of any desired length and density and can be of a natural or man-made composition, including but not limited to natural hairs, natural fibers, polymeric or other synthetic fibers and metallic bristles. The bristles 50 can be mounted to the bottom surface 26 of the broom block 14 in any convenient or conventional way. As can be appreciated, the block may also have other fibers or materials mounted to the bottom surface of the block depending on the intended use of the block.
As can be appreciated, from the above description, a handle 12 can be inserted into the first bore 22 and the bolt 16 can be positioned in the second bore 24 so as to limit rotation of the handle with respect to the broom block 14. If desired, the bolt 16 may be removed and the handle 12 can then be removed from the first bore 22 and installed in the second bore 24. The bolt 16 can then be installed in the first bore 22 so as to again limit rotation of the handle with respect to the broom block 14. Thus, performing such a series of steps allows the broom block 14 to be pushed in a forward direction with either side of the block 14 and bristles 50 facing forward during operation.
The present invention has been described in terms of preferred and illustrative embodiments thereof. Numerous other embodiments, modifications and variations within the scope and spirit of the appended claims will occur to persons of ordinary skill in the art from a review of this disclosure.