Title:
DEBRIS ENTRAPMENT APPARATUS
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An apparatus for entrapping foreign matter and debris in drains is disclosed. The apparatus has a bristle holding device, bristles and an optionally detachable bottom base. The apparatus can be easily removed, cleaned, and then placed back into the drain for additional use, or the apparatus may be discarded and replaced with a new apparatus. The apparatus can be used in multiple drain types including pop-up, plunger, push-pull tub sink or shower drains and stationary drains, such as those found in a shower. The apparatus may be sold as a kit or as a replacement part.



Inventors:
Zubillaga, Edward L. (Paso Robles, CA, US)
Ballew-zubillaga, Patrice (Paso Robles, CA, US)
Application Number:
12/273967
Publication Date:
06/18/2009
Filing Date:
11/19/2008
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E03C1/26
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
YOUNKINS, KAREN L
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
EDWIN A. SISSON , ATTORNEY AT LAW , LLC (P.O. Box 867, MEDINA, OH, 44258-0867, US)
Claims:
We claim:

1. A debris entrapment apparatus for use inside a drain comprising a bristle holding device, a plurality of bristles and a bottom end, wherein said bristles radiate from said bristle holding device, and said bottom end is removably attached via an attaching means to said bristle holding device.

2. A debris entrapment apparatus for use inside a drain comprising a bristle holding device, at least one overflow channel, a plurality of bristles and a bottom end, wherein said overflow channel traverses at least a portion of the length of the bristle holding device, said bristles radiate from, but are not necessarily attached to said bristle holding device, and said bottom end is removably attached via an attaching means to said bristle holding device.

3. A debris entrapment apparatus for use inside a drain comprising a bristle holding device, tubular outer body, a plurality of retractable bristles and bottom end, wherein said bristle holding device is a bristle holding inner member with a movable support running down the center of said member, said outer body is positioned over said inner member and is provided with a plurality of apertures for bristle passage, said bristles attach to the movable support located within the tubular outer body to move between a position in which said bristles project through said apertures and a position in which they are retracted, and said bottom end removably attaches via an attaching means to a member wherein the member is selected from the group consisting of a tubular outer body or a bristle holding inner member.

4. The apparatus of claim 2, further comprises a bristle sheet, said bristles radiate from said bristle sheet.

5. The apparatus of claim 4, wherein said bristle holding device has at least one hole.

6. The apparatus of claim 2, wherein the apparatus is part of a kit, wherein the kit has component parts capable of being assembled in the field or at home, the kit comprising the combination of: a bristle holding device, a plurality of bristles radiating from said bristle holding device, a bottom end, each bottom end removably attaches via an attachment means to said bristle holding device, and a second bristle holding device, said second bristle holding device adapted to serve as a replacement bristle holding device.

7. The apparatus as in claim 1, wherein said bristles are attached to the bristle holding device at at least one end of the bristle.

8. The apparatus as in claim 1, wherein said bristles are distributed as layers on said bristle holding device.

9. The apparatus as in claim 1, wherein said bristles are attached to the bristle holding device such that said bristles radiate from said bristle holding device in any direction but parallel to the length direction of said bristle holding device.

10. The apparatus as in claim 2, wherein said bristles are attached to the bristle holding device at at least one end of the bristle.

11. The apparatus as in claim 2, wherein said bristles are distributed as layers on said bristle holding device.

12. The apparatus as in claim 2, wherein said bristles are attached to the bristle holding device such that said bristles radiate from said bristle holding device in any direction but parallel to the length direction of said bristle holding device.

13. The apparatus as in claim 2, wherein said overflow channel is substantially free of obstruction and the overflow channel has at least a first opening to allow a liquid to enter the overflow channel before the liquid reaches the plurality of bristles and the overflow channel has at least a second opening allowing the liquid to flow from the overflow channel at a point after the plurality of bristles.

14. The apparatus as in claim 3, further comprising means for manually retracting and projecting said bristles in the apertures.

15. The apparatus as in claim 3, wherein said bristles are attached to the bristle holding device at at least one end of the bristle.

16. The apparatus as in claim 3, wherein said bristles are distributed as layers on said bristle holding device.

17. The apparatus as in claim 3, wherein said bristles are attached to the bristle holding device such that said bristles radiate from said bristle holding device in any direction but parallel to the length direction of said bristle holding device.

18. The apparatus as in claim 3, further comprising an overflow channel, said overflow channel traverses at least a portion of the length of the bristle holding device.

Description:

PRIORITIES AND CROSS REFERENCES

This application claims priority from U.S. Provisional Application 60/989,442 filed on Nov. 20, 2007.

FIELD

The present invention pertains to the field of plumbing and more specifically to an apparatus for preventing plugs, clogs or backups caused by debris and foreign matter accumulating in shower, tub or sink drains.

BACKGROUND

If a sink, shower stall or tub will not drain, or if the water drains too slowly, more than likely there is a clog somewhere within the drain. Once this stage is reached, Black & Decker, The Complete Guide to Home Plumbing, © 2005, the current state-of-the-art, teaches that the options to remove the clog are either to use a plunger, hand auger, blow bag or chemical drain cleaner. A plunger is usually the tool of first choice, but the clog may be too large or positioned too deeply within the drain to enable the clog to be broken via the plunger. The next choice is typically the hand auger, but this device requires some expertise on the part of the user to differentiate between a clog and a bend in a drain line. Blow bags are fairly easy to use, but they are typically used only for floor drains (e.g. drains located in basement floors). Chemical drain cleaners are effective but run the risk of damaging the plumbing lines because of the caustic chemicals that make up the formulation.

Since unclogging a drain can be difficult it is preferable to prevent the clog with a debris entrapment device or apparatus. A strainer is one type of debris entrapment apparatus. Strainers are designed to catch debris before it enters into the drain. This unsightly, unhygienic approach means that the user must constantly see the debris that has accumulated in the sink, shower stall or tub and then physically remove the debris from the strainer by hand. Strainers also have an additional problem in that they may develop leaks from improper positioning within the drain assembly or deterioration of the plumbers putty. In such circumstances, the leak must be pinpointed and remedied by either removing the strainer, reapplying plumbers putty then reinserting or replacing the strainer with a new strainer.

Previous debris catching apparatii suffered from debris build up and a resultant inability for water to pass through the apparatus. These deficiencies resulted in clogged drains, unsanitary conditions, and time consuming remedies with no economical, convenient, preventative option for the consumer to prevent such clogs or back-ups. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 3,959,831 describes another debris entrapment apparatus inserted into the drain, with the apparatus having bristles radiating from a center member to the outer wall of the drain.

As noted in U.S. Pat. No. 5,003,642 the debris entrapment apparatus of U.S. Pat. No. 3,959,831 eventually suffer from problems with water back up. Furthermore, if debris is entrapped in the apparatus, it is difficult to remove the hair or other foreign matter.

There exists therefore a need for an apparatus that entraps foreign matter and debris and allows water passage through the device, but at the same time, designed to be easy to use by any homeowner, plumber, maintenance person or any other individual charged with cleaning or upkeep of a drain.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

It remained for the present inventor to recognize that an apparatus could be devised with particular embodiments to prevent water back-up and make removal of the debris an easy, hygienic process. This specification discloses such a debris entrapment apparatus for use inside a drain comprising a bristle holding device, a plurality of bristles and bottom end, wherein the bristles radiate from the bristle holding device, and the bottom end removably attaches via an attaching means to the bristle holding device.

This specification also discloses a debris entrapment apparatus for use inside a drain comprising a bristle holding device, at least one bypass or overflow channel, a plurality of bristles and a bottom end, wherein the bristle holding device has a overflow or bypass channel traversing at least a portion of the length of the bristle holding device, the bristles radiate from the bristle holding device, and the bottom end removably attaches via an attaching means to the bristle holding device.

Further disclosed in this specification is a debris entrapment apparatus for use inside a drain comprising a bristle holding device, at least one overflow channel, a bristle sheet, a plurality of bristles and a bottom end, wherein the overflow channel traverses at least a portion of the length of the bristle holding device, the bristle holding device has at least one hole, the hole may run lengthwise down the bristle holding device, the bristles radiate from the bristle sheet, and the bottom end is removably attached via an attaching means to the bristle holding device.

Further disclosed in this specification is a debris entrapment apparatus for use inside a drain comprising a bristle holding device, tubular outer body, a plurality of retractable bristles and bottom end, wherein the bristle holding device is a bristle holding inner member with a movable support running down the center of the member, the outer body is positioned over the inner member and is provided with a plurality of apertures for bristle passage, the bristles attach to the movable support located within the tubular outer body to move between a position in which the bristles project through the apertures and a position in which they are retracted, and the bottom end attaches to a member wherein the member is selected from the group consisting of a tubular outer body or a bristle holding inner member.

Further disclosed in this specification is a debris entrapment apparatus for use inside a drain comprising a bristle holding device, tubular outer body, a plurality of retractable bristles, at least one overflow or bypass channel and bottom end, wherein the bristle holding device is a bristle holding inner member with a movable support running down the center of the member, the outer body is positioned over the inner member and is provided with a plurality of apertures for water and bristle passage, the bristles attach to the movable support located within the tubular outer body to move between a position in which the bristles project through the apertures and a position in which they are retracted, the overflow/bypass channel traversing at least a portion of the length of the bristle holding device, and the bottom end removably attaches to a member wherein the member is selected from the group consisting of a tubular outer body or a bristle holding inner member.

Further disclosed in this specification is a debris entrapment apparatus for use inside a drain comprising a drain strainer, bristle holding device, and a plurality of bristles, wherein the drain strainer is positioned on top of the bristle holding device, the bristles radiate from the bristle holding device, and the bristle holding device removably attaches via an attachment means to the drain strainer. The bristle holding device of this apparatus may have an overflow channel traversing at least a portion of the length of the bristle holding device.

Further disclosed in this specification is a debris entrapment apparatus kit having component parts capable of being assembled in the field or at home, the kit comprising the combination of a bristle holding device encompassing a plurality of bristles radiating form the bristle holding device, a bottom end, each bottom end removably attaching via an attachment means to the bristle holding device, and a second bristle holding device, the second bristle holding device adapted to serve as a replacement bristle holding device. The bristle holding device of this apparatus may have an overflow channel traversing at least a portion of the length of the bristle holding device.

Other features found in the debris entrapment apparatus include a stopper or a drain strainer affixed to the top of the bristle holding device.

Still another feature found in the debris entrapment apparatus includes bristles attaching to the bristle holding device at at least one end of the bristle.

Still another feature found in the debris entrapment apparatus includes bristles distributed as layers on the bristle holding device.

Still another feature found in the debris entrapment apparatus includes bristles attached to the bristle holding device so that the length of the bristles are not substantially parallel to the vertical longitudinal member.

Still another feature found in the debris entrapment apparatus includes a means for manually retracting and projecting the bristles in the apertures.

Still another feature found in the debris entrapment apparatus includes an overflow or bypass channel substantially free of obstruction, the overflow channel has at least a first opening to allow a liquid to enter the bypass channel before the liquid reaches the plurality of bristles and the bypass channel has at least a second opening allowing the liquid to flow from the overflow channel at a point after the plurality of bristles.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 depicts a type of debris entrapment apparatus known in the prior art.

FIG. 2 depicts a debris entrapment apparatus embodying the principles of the invention and having a removable bottom end.

FIG. 3 depicts a debris entrapment apparatus embodying the principles of the invention and having an overflow channel.

FIG. 4 depicts a debris entrapment apparatus embodying the principles of the invention and having retractable bristles.

FIG. 5 depicts a debris entrapment apparatus embodying the principles of the invention and having retractable bristles, an overflow channel, and a removable bottom end.

FIG. 6 depicts a debris entrapment apparatus embodying the principles of the invention and having the debris entrapment apparatus removably attached to the top of the drain strainer.

FIG. 7 depicts an exploded view of a debris entrapment apparatus embodying the principles of the invention and having a bristle sheet.

FIG. 8 depicts a panoramic view of a debris entrapment apparatus with the bristle sheet.

FIG. 9 depicts an assembled debris entrapment apparatus embodying the principles of the invention and having a bristle sheet.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Turning now to the drawings, wherein like components are designated by like reference numerals in the various figures, attention is first directed to FIG. 1 which illustrates a debris entrapment apparatus known in the prior art. The FIG. 1 apparatus comprises a pop-up stopper assembly 10 positioned within a drain wall 12, and pop-up stopper assembly related parts such as a pivot rod 14, pivot cap 16, pivot seal 18, lift rod 20, clevis 22, and set screw 24. The pop-up stopper assembly functions as a mechanical plug that permits sinks in lavatories, showers and tubs to hold water. All the aforementioned related parts work in concert to ensure that the pop-up stopper assembly functions properly.

FIG. 2 depicts a debris entrapment apparatus 26 embodying the principles of the present invention that is easier to clean or replace and less prone to water back-up than those known in the prior art. The apparatus of FIG. 2 comprises a bristle holding device 28, a plurality of bristles 30 and bottom end 32. The term bristles in the current embodiment includes any foreign matter catching member, including but not limited to, bristles, spikes, filaments, spicules, and rod-like elements—whether round, square or otherwise in cross sectional configuration. The pliability of the bristles vary from flexible to stiff and anything in between. If a bristle can bend when touched by a finger it is considered flexible, if the bristle does not bend when touched by a finger, it is considered stiff. The length of the bristles ranges from short, extending just past the bristle holding device, to long, extending and possibly touching the side of the drain wall. The outside diameter of a drain pipe is typically from 1¼″ to 1½″. The inside diameter of the same drain pipe, i.e. the drain wall, is typically 1⅛″ to 1⅜″. Therefore, the lengths of the bristles are equal to or less than the diameter of the perimeter created by the inside of the drain wall. The perimeter created by the inside of the drain wall being a circle, oval or other non-circle arrangement. The arrangement of the bristles on the bristle holding device may be in any configuration, including but not limited to, bristles closely spaced and adjacent to one another, to more open arrangements where the bristles are spaced farther apart from one another. The bristles may be arranged in a plurality of layers across the entire circumference of the bristle holding device, for example such that one layer of bristles is directly on top of another layer of bristles or the arrangement may be one in which one layer of bristles is never on top of another layer of bristles. The bristles may be made of any material including but not limited to plastics, metals, composites, or combinations thereof. The bristles may be in a straight line or any curved configuration. There also may be secondary bristles, or branches, attached to the trunk or main bristle.

The bristle holding device of this embodiment may be a vertical longitudinal member of any circumferential arrangement including but not limited to round, square or rectangular configurations. The bristle holding device may be made of any material, including but not limited to, plastics, metals, composites or combinations thereof. The plurality of bristles are said to radiate, or spread out, or spread around, or project from the bristle holding device. By configuring the bristles on the bristle holding device in this manner, hair and other foreign matter accumulates in the bristles radiating from the bristle holding device. The bristle arrangement in the present embodiment ensures that water continues to pass through, even if debris were to accumulate within the bristles. The only other limitation on the placement of the bristles is to have the bristles radiate from the bristle holding device in any direction but parallel to the length direction of the bristle holding device and to have the bristles affix to the bristle holding device at at least one end of the bristles.

There is an attachment means 34 enabling the bottom end to attach to the bristle holding device. The attachment means in FIG. 2 permits the bottom end to attach to the bristle holding device so that an individual may remove the debris laden bristle holding device and clean or replace with a fresh bristle holding device. The attachment means could be accomplished by, but is not limited to screwing (thereby fastening the two pieces by rotating the incised threads as is typically accomplished by turning a screw with a screwdriver—including, but not limited to set screws or round head machine screws), pinning (as in a cotter pin attachment found in a lawn mover), snapping (as found in attaching window screens to window casements), twist-lock (for example, as found in wet-dry vacuum assembly attachments), sliding (for example, as found in attaching table leaves to dining room tables), wedging (for example, as found in household vacuum assembly attachments) or any other alternative means of attachment.

The attachment means 34 in FIG. 2 depicts a screwing means for attachment, but as described above, this only represents one of the many means of attaching the bottom end to the bristle holding device.

The FIG. 2 invention may also have a stopper or drain strainer affixed to the top of the bristle holding device. The debris entrapment apparatus may be constructed of any suitable material, including but not limited to, plastic and metals. This particular embodiment may also be sold as a kit. The contents of the kit including, but not limited to, the bristle holding device, the bottom end, and may include a replacement or spare bristle holding device for replacing a debris laden bristle holding device. Alternatively, the bristle holding device with the bottom end and attachment means may be sold alone as a replacement part. All of the features of this embodiment are assembled in such as way as to provide several options to the consumer to quickly, economically and sanitarily remove debris from the apparatus.

In accordance with a different embodiment of the invention, FIG. 3 depicts a debris entrapment apparatus 36 that also includes at least one overflow or bypass channel 38. The apparatus of FIG. 3 also comprises a bristle holding device 40, a plurality of bristles 42 and bottom end 44, wherein the plurality of bristles radiate from the bristle holding device in the manner previously described, and there is an attachment means 46 enabling the bottom end to attach to the bristle holding device. The term bristles in the current embodiment includes any foreign matter catching member, including but not limited to, bristles, spikes, filaments, spicules, and rod-like elements—whether round, square or otherwise in cross sectional configuration. The pliability of the bristles vary from flexible to stiff and anything in between. If a bristle can bend when touched by a finger it is considered flexible, if the bristle does not bend when touched by a finger, it is considered stiff. If a bristle can bend when touched by a finger it is considered flexible, if the bristle does not bend when touched by a finger, it is considered stiff The length of the bristles ranges from short, extending just past the bristle holding device to long, extending and possibly touching the side of the drain wall. The outside diameter of a drain pipe is typically from 1¼″ to 1½″. The inside diameter of the same drain pipe, i.e. the drain wall, is typically 1⅛″ to 1⅜″. Therefore, the lengths of the bristles are equal to or less than the diameter of the perimeter created by the inside of the drain wall. The perimeter created by the inside of the drain wall being a circle, oval or other non-circle arrangement. The arrangement of the bristles on the bristle holding device may be in any configuration, including but not limited to, bristles closely spaced and adjacent to one another, to more open arrangements where the bristles are spaced farther apart from one another. The bristles may be arranged in a plurality of layers across the entire circumference of the bristle holding device, for example such that one layer of bristles is directly on top of another layer of bristles or the arrangement may be one in which one layer of bristles is never on top of another layer of bristles. The bristles may be made of any material including but not limited to plastics, metals, composites, or combinations thereof. The bristles may be in a straight line or any curved configuration. There also may be secondary bristles, or branches, attached to the trunk or main bristle.

The bristle holding device of this embodiment may be a vertical longitudinal member of any circumferential arrangement including but not limited to round, square or rectangular configurations. The bristle holding device may be made of any material, including but not limited to, plastics, metals, composites or combinations thereof.

The overflow or bypass channel of FIG. 3 traverses at least a portion of the length of the bristle holding device and may also be a concave section running along the length of the bristle holding device. Additionally, the overflow channel may encompass a first opening to allow a liquid to enter the overflow channel before the liquid reaches the plurality of bristles as well as a second opening allowing the liquid to flow from the overflow channel at a point after the plurality of bristles. The overflow channel permits water or liquid to flow through the drain pipe, that otherwise may have backed up in the sink due to debris build up in the bristles. By including this embodiment, it is not necessary to position the bristles along different axial positions in adjacent planes, however that remains an option.

The bottom end of the FIG. 3 apparatus attaches to the bristle holding device so that an individual may remove the debris laden bristle holding device and clean or replace it with a fresh bristle holding device. The attachment means could be accomplished by screwing (thereby fastening the two pieces by rotating the incised threads by turning with a screwdriver—including but not limited to set screws or round head machine screws), pinning (as in a cotter pin attachment found in a lawn mover), snapping (as found in attaching window screens to window casement), twist-lock (as found in, fore example, wet-dry vacuum assembly attachments), sliding (for example, as found in attaching table leaves to dining room tables), wedging (for example, as found in household vacuum assembly attachments) or any other alternative means of attachment.

There may be a stopper or drain strainer affixed to the top of the FIG. 3 bristle holding device. The bristles affix to the bristle holding device at at least one end of the bristles. The configuration of the attachment of the bristles on the bristle holding device is such that the bristles radiate from the bristle holding device in any direction but parallel to the length direction of the bristle holding device. The debris entrapment apparatus may be constructed of any suitable material, including but not limited to, plastic and metals. This particular embodiment may also be sold as a kit. The contents of the kit could include the bristle holding device with the overflow channel traversing at least a portion of the bristle holding device, the bottom end, and may include a replacement or spare bristle holding device for replacing a debris laden bristle holding device. Alternatively, the bristle holding device with an overflow channel traversing at least a portion of the bristle holding device with the bottom end and attachment means, may be sold alone as a replacement part.

In accordance with another embodiment of the invention, FIG. 4 depicts a debris entrapment apparatus 48 encompassing retractable bristles 50. In this embodiment, the retractable bristles are attached to a movable support 52 within the inner core 54 of the bristle holding device 56. The movable support runs down the center of the inner core. A tubular outer body 58 with a number of apertures 60 is positioned over the inner core to allow the passage of bristles. By manually repositioning or moving the movable support, the bristles move between a position in which the bristles project through the apertures and a position in which they are retracted. There is a stop mechanism 62 incorporated into the movable support or the end of the bristles 62, to ensure that the bristles are unable to be pulled all the way through the tubular outer body. Retractable bristles are a way to clean off any debris accumulating in the bristles without having to use fingers or other tools for pulling or removing the debris from the bristles. The term bristles in the current embodiment includes any foreign matter catching member, including but not limited to, bristles, spikes, filaments, spicules, and rod-like elements—whether round, square or otherwise in cross sectional configuration. The pliability of the bristles vary from flexible to stiff and anything in between. If a bristle can bend when touched by a finger it is considered flexible, if the bristle does not bend when touched by a finger, it is considered stiff. The length of the bristles ranges from short, extending just past the bristle holding device to long, extending and possibly touching the side of the drain wall. The outside diameter of a drain pipe is typically from 1¼″ to 1½″. The inside diameter of the same drain pipe, i.e. the drain wall, is typically 1⅛″ to 1⅜″. Therefore, the lengths of the bristles are equal to or less than the diameter of the perimeter created by the inside of the drain wall. The perimeter created by the inside of the drain wall being a circle, oval or other non-circle arrangement. The arrangement of the bristles on the bristle holding inner core, or more specifically, the movable support, may be in any configuration, including but not limited to, bristles closely spaced and adjacent to one another, to more open arrangements where the bristles are spaced farther apart from one another. The bristles may be arranged in a plurality of layers across the entire circumference of the bristle holding inner core, for example such that one layer of bristles is directly on top of another layer of bristles or the arrangement may be one in which one layer of bristles is never on top of another layer of bristles. The bristles may be made of any material including but not limited to plastics, metals, composites, or combinations thereof. The bristles may be in a straight line or any curved configuration. There also may be secondary bristles, or branches, attached to the trunk or main bristle.

The bristle holding inner member of this embodiment may be a vertical longitudinal member of any circumferential arrangement including but not limited to round, square or rectangular configurations. The bristle holding inner member may be made of any material, including but not limited to, plastics, metals, composites or combinations thereof. The bristle holding inner member may be a core as shown.

The bottom end 64 of this embodiment of the invention may attach to either the tubular outer body or the bristle holding inner member via an attachment means. The attachment means 66 of this embodiment of the invention allows the consumer the choice between removing and replacing the bristle holding device or utilizing the retractable bristle feature when the bristles becomes clogged with debris. The attachment means could be accomplished by screwing (thereby fastening the two pieces by rotating the incised threads by turning with a screwdriver—including, but not limited to set screws or round head machine screws), pinning (as in a cotter pin attachment found in a lawn mover), snapping (as found in attaching window screens to window casement), twist-lock (for example, as found in wet-dry vacuum assembly attachments), sliding (for example, as found in attaching table leaves to dining room tables), wedging (for example, as found in household vacuum assembly attachments) or any other alternative means of attachment.

There may be a stopper or drain strainer affixed to the top of the bristle holding device. The bristles affix to the bristle holding inner core at at least one end of the bristles and may be distributed in layers on the bristle holding inner member. In this manner, liquid continues to flow through the drain even as debris may settle on the bristles. The configuration of the attachment of the bristles on the bristle holding inner member is such that the bristles radiate in the manner previously described from the bristle holding inner member in any direction but parallel to the length direction of the bristle holding inner member. The debris entrapment apparatus may be constructed of any suitable material, including but not limited to, plastic and metals.

In accordance with another embodiment of the invention, FIG. 5 depicts a debris entrapment apparatus 68 encompassing all the features of FIGS. 2, 3 and 4. Combining the features in this manner gives the user a bristle holding device 70 with a channel 72 allowing continuous water flow, retractable bristles 74 allowing easy manual removal of debris and a bottom end 76 enabling the user flexibility to remove and replace the bristle holding device via an attachment means 78. The attachment means could be accomplished by, but is not limited to screwing (thereby fastening the two pieces by rotating the incised threads by turning with a screwdriver—including, but not limited to set screws or round head machine screws), pinning (as in a cotter pin attachment found in a lawn mover), snapping (as found in attaching window screens to window casements), twist-lock (for example, as found in wet-dry vacuum assembly attachments), sliding (for example, as found in attaching table leaves to dining room tables), wedging (for example, as found in household vacuum assembly attachments) or any other alternative means of attachment.

The term bristles in the current embodiment includes any foreign matter catching member, including but not limited to, bristles, spikes, filaments, spicules, and rod-like elements—whether round, square or otherwise in cross sectional configuration. The pliability of the bristles vary from flexible to stiff and anything in between. If a bristle can bend when touched by a finger it is considered flexible, if the bristle does not bend when touched by a finger, it is considered stiff. The length of the bristles ranges from short, extending just past the bristle holding inner core to long, extending and possibly touching the side of the drain wall. The outside diameter of a drain pipe is typically from 1¼″ to 1½″. The inside diameter of the same drain pipe, i.e. the drain wall, is typically 1⅛″ to 1⅜″. Therefore, the lengths of the bristles are equal to or less than the diameter of the perimeter created by the inside of the drain wall. The perimeter created by the inside of the drain wall being a circle, oval or other non-circle arrangement. The arrangement of the bristles on the bristle holding inner core may be in any configuration, including but not limited to, bristles closely spaced and adjacent to one another, to more open arrangements where the bristles are spaced farther apart from one another. The bristles may be arranged in a plurality of layers across the entire circumference of the bristle holding inner core, for example such that one layer of bristles is directly on top of another layer of bristles or the arrangement may be one in which one layer of bristles is never on top of another layer of bristles. The bristles may be made of any material including but not limited to plastics, metals, composites, or combinations thereof. The bristles may be in a straight line or any curved configuration. There also may be secondary bristles, or branches, attached to the trunk or main bristle.

The bristle holding device of this embodiment may be a vertical longitudinal member of any circumferential arrangement including but not limited to round, square or rectangular configurations. The bristle holding device may be made of any material, including but not limited to, plastics, metals, composites or combinations thereof. There may be a stopper or drain strainer affixed to the top of the bristle holding device. The bristles affix to the bristle holding inner member at at least one end of the bristles and may be distributed in layers on the bristle holding inner member. In this manner, liquid continues to flow through the drain even as debris may settle on the bristles. The configuration of the attachment of the bristles on the bristle holding inner member is such that the bristles radiate in the manner previously described from the bristle holding inner member in any direction but parallel to the length direction of the bristle holding inner member. The debris entrapment apparatus may be constructed of any suitable material, including but not limited to, plastic and metals.

In accordance with another embodiment of the invention, FIG. 6 depicts a debris entrapment apparatus 80 for use for example in a shower drain. The structure of the debris entrapment apparatus is similar to the features of the aforementioned debris entrapment apparatuses except the bristle holding device is affixed to a floor drain, by for example a drain strainer 82, or supported from opposite end by for example a drain basket. In the case of the drain strainer, the strainer is positioned on top of the bristle holding device 84. The drain strainer may be affixed, attached or supported to the top or bottom of the bristle holding device by means of screws, weld, glue, snap, twist-lock, wedging, pinning hook and eye arrangements or any other means of support, affixing or attachment. FIG. 6 depicts a screw attachment means, but this only represents one of the many means of attaching the bristle holding device to the drain strainer or drain basket. The debris entrapment apparatus may be constructed of any suitable material, including but not limited to, plastic and metals. The bristle holding device may also have an overflow channel traversing at least a portion of the length of the bristle holding device.

In accordance with another embodiment of the invention, FIG. 7 depicts a debris entrapment apparatus 86 with a bristle sheet 88 wrapped around the bristle holding device 90. The plurality of bristles 92 radiate from the bristle sheet 88. The portion of the bristle holding device 94 lying directly underneath the bristle sheet 88 may be smaller in circumference than the remaining circumference of the bristle holding device 90. There is a hole 96 running lengthwise down the portion of the bristle holding device 94. The bristle sheet 88 is secured to the portion of the bristle holding device 94, by a segment of the bristle sheet 98 pushed inside the hole 96. The term hole in the current embodiment includes any shape or configuration including but not limited to ovals, circles, rectangles, squares and all slits. Even though it is not depicted in FIG. 7, there is also an attachment means in this embodiment enabling the bottom end to attach to the bristle holding device. The term bristles in the current embodiment includes any foreign matter catching member, including but not limited to, bristles, spikes, filaments, spicules, and rod-like elements—whether round, square or otherwise in cross sectional configuration. The pliability of the bristles vary from flexible to stiff and anything in between. If a bristle can bend when touched by a finger it is considered flexible, if the bristle does not bend when touched by a finger, it is considered stiff. The length of the bristles ranges from short, extending just past the bristle holding device to long, extending and possibly touching the side of the drain wall. The outside diameter of a drain pipe is typically from 1¼″ to 1½″. The inside diameter of the same drain pipe, i.e. the drain wall, is typically 1⅛″ to 1⅜″. Therefore, the lengths of the bristles are equal to or less than the diameter of the perimeter created by the inside of the drain wall. The perimeter created by the inside of the drain wall being a circle, oval or other non-circle arrangement. The arrangement of the bristles on the bristle holding device may be in any configuration, including but not limited to, bristles closely spaced and adjacent to one another, to more open arrangements where the bristles are spaced farther apart from one another. The bristles may be arranged in a plurality of layers across the entire circumference of the bristle holding device, for example such that one layer of bristles is directly on top of another layer of bristles or the arrangement may be one in which one layer of bristles is never on top of another layer of bristles. The bristles may be made of any material including but not limited to plastics, metals, composites, or combinations thereof. The bristles may be in a straight line or any curved configuration. There also may be secondary bristles, or branches, attached to the trunk or main bristle. The sheet on which the bristles are attached, may be made of any flexible material, including but not limited to plastics, metals, composites, or combinations thereof.

The bristle holding device of this embodiment may be a vertical longitudinal member of any circumferential arrangement including but not limited to round, square or rectangular configurations. The bristle holding device may be made of any material, including but not limited to, plastics, metals, composites or combinations thereof.

The overflow or bypass channel of FIG. 7 traverses at least a portion of the length of the bristle holding device and may also be a concave section running along the length of the bristle holding device. Additionally, the overflow channel may encompass a first opening to allow a liquid to enter the overflow channel before the liquid reaches the plurality of bristles as well as a second opening allowing the liquid to flow from the overflow channel at a point after the plurality of bristles. The overflow channel permits water or liquid to flow through the drain pipe, that otherwise may have backed up in the sink due to debris build up in the bristles. By including this embodiment, it is not necessary to position the bristles along different axial positions in adjacent planes, however that remains an option.

The bottom end of the FIG. 7 apparatus attaches to the bristle holding device so that an individual may remove the debris laden bristle holding device and clean or replace it with a fresh bristle holding device. The attachment means could be accomplished by screwing (thereby fastening the two pieces by rotating the incised threads by turning a screw with a screwdriver—including but not limited to set screws or round head machine screws), pinning (as in a cotter pin attachment found in a lawn mover), snapping (as found in attaching window screens to window casement), twist-lock (as found in, fore example, wet-dry vacuum assembly attachments), sliding (for example, as found in attaching table leaves to dining room tables), wedging (for example, as found in household vacuum assembly attachments) or any other alternative means of attachment.

There may be a stopper or drain strainer affixed to the top of the FIG. 7 bristle holding device. The bristles affix to the bristle sheet at at least one end of the bristles. The configuration of the attachment of the bristles on the bristle sheet is such that the bristles radiate from the bristle sheet in any direction but parallel to the length direction of the bristle sheet. The debris entrapment apparatus may be constructed of any suitable material, including but not limited to, plastic and metals. This particular embodiment may also be sold as a kit. The contents of the kit could include the bristle holding device with the overflow channel traversing at least a portion of the bristle holding device, the bottom end, and may include a replacement or spare bristle holding device for replacing a debris laden bristle holding device. Alternatively, the bristle holding device with an overflow channel traversing at least a portion of the bristle holding device with the bottom end and attachment means, may be sold alone as a replacement part.

FIG. 8 depicts a panoramic view of the debris entrapment apparatus with the bristle sheet 88 wrapped around the circumference of the bristle holding device 90, including the segment of the bristle sheet 88 pushed inside the hole 96 running lengthwise down the portion of the bristle holding device 94. Also depicted is a first opening (99) and an overflow channel (100).

FIG. 9 depicts a fully assembled view of the debris entrapment apparatus 86 including depictions of the bristle sheet 88, and the bristle holding device 90. This figure also depicts a first opening (99) and an overflow channel (100).

It thus will be appreciated that those skilled in the art will be able to devise numerous alternative arrangements that, while not shown or described herein, embody the principles of the invention and thus are within its spirit and scope. This application is not limited to the bristles, channels, or attaching devices as described, but also to their equivalents.





 
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