Sign up
Title:
COMPACT STEAM APPLIANCE WITH FOLDING HANDLE
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A portable steamer (1) comprises a housing (14) that includes a water reservoir (8) and boiler or heater (9), as well as internal structures (10, 11) designed to inhibit steam emission and to prevent inadvertent leaking and emission of water and steam, and a folding handle (4).


Inventors:
Leung, Anthony Kit Lun (North Point, HK)
Application Number:
12/184747
Publication Date:
02/04/2010
Filing Date:
08/01/2008
Primary Class:
International Classes:
D06F87/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20080034811Device for the sectional application of liquor to a fabric webFebruary, 2008Kubik et al.
20040168481Front-load sink/laundry comboSeptember, 2004Usherovich et al.
20050284191Clothes washer with clothing trapDecember, 2005Turner et al.
20070295035WASHER AND METHOD OF FORMING DRUM THEREOFDecember, 2007Lim
20090094760Drum type washing machine having towel washing function and operation method thereofApril, 2009Lee et al.
20080168803WASHING MACHINE TUB LOCKJuly, 2008Muyskens
20100024491HOUSEHOLD APPLIANCEFebruary, 2010Galassi et al.
20080184746Tandem Washing System Configuration For Recycling Detergent & WaterAugust, 2008Agarwal
20070033970Washing-drying machineFebruary, 2007Lee et al.
20070044519Washing machine having damper-supporterMarch, 2007Kim et al.
20030172687Tank dyeing textile materialsSeptember, 2003Bartalucci et al.
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Lawrence Cruz;Conair Corporation (One Cummings Point Road, STAMFORD, CT, 06902, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A handheld steam appliance comprising a water reservoir adapted to receive water therein; a heater adapted to heat water received in said reservoir to convert it to steam vapor; an intermediate chamber to which steam vapor travels from said reservoir; at least one outlet nozzle opening to which steam vapor travels from said intermediate chamber and from which said steam vapor is emitted from said appliance; and a water and vapor flow inhibiting system, said system comprising a first wall separating said reservoir from said intermediate chamber and an opening through said first wall adapted to permit steam vapor to pass through said first wall.

2. An appliance according to claim 1, wherein said opening through said first wall comprises a first blocking structure adapted to inhibit water and vapor flow, said first blocking structure comprising a generally cylindrically shaped structure having an internal chamber and an opening adjacent to each end thereof and each opening being in fluid communication with said internal chamber, and said first blocking structure being positioned such that said first end and said second end facilitate flow of water and vapor between said reservoir and said intermediate chamber.

3. An appliance according to claim 2, further comprising a second blocking structure comprising a generally cylindrically shaped structure having an internal chamber and an opening adjacent to each end thereof and each opening being in fluid communication with said internal chamber, and said second blocking structure being positioned such that said first end and said second end facilitate flow of water and vapor between said intermediate chamber and said at least one outlet nozzle opening.

4. An appliance according to claim 1, further comprising a handle attached to said appliance, said handle being adapted to be held by a user's hand and being adapted to be selectively moved to a position in which it is folded against said appliance or to a position in which it is unfolded so that it is spaced apart from said appliance.

5. An appliance according to claim 1, further comprising a set of bristles attached to said appliance adjacent to said at least one outlet nozzle opening.

6. An appliance according to claim 1, further comprising a lint collecting pad attached to said appliance adjacent to said at least one outlet nozzle opening.

7. An appliance according to claim 1, further comprising a removable plate adapted to be selectively attached to or removed from said appliance at a location adjacent to said at least one outlet nozzle opening; a set of bristles attached to said removable plate; and a lint collecting pad attached to said removable plate.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

None.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to fabric and garment care appliances and, more particularly, to steaming appliances.

2. Description of Related Art

Various types of steaming appliances exist for applying steam to fabrics or garments to remove wrinkles or to clean them. Such appliances are usually referred to as “garment steamers” and typically comprise a water reservoir, a heat source that is heated by electrical energy to cause the water to boil and produce steam, and a nozzle for emitting the steam. Some garment steamers are large and have a base designed to rest on the floor or on a flat surface. Others are small and designed to be compact or portable. Some portable garment steamers include a soleplate of the type a clothing iron has, and they function as both steamer and iron.

There is a desire to create portable steamer designs that maximize water (and thus steam) capacity, that minimize storage space and weight, and that maximize ease of use and portability. In addition, because in a portable steamer the reservoir is usually fixed to the rest of the structure, rather than separated as a base that rests on the floor while a handheld component is manipulated, there is a special need to design a portable steamer that does not inadvertently drip hot water or leak steam when the appliance is tipped and maneuvered during use.

OBJECTS OF THE PRESENT INVENTION

It is an object of the present invention to provide a portable garment steamer that maximizes water (and thus steam) capacity, that minimizes storage space and weight, and that maximizes ease of use and portability. It is a further object of the present invention to provide a portable steamer that does not inadvertently drip hot water or leak steam when the appliance is tipped and maneuvered during use. It is a further object to provide a portable steamer that has a compact design that includes a folding handle.

These and other objects are achieved by the present invention.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE PRESENT INVENTION

According to the present invention, a portable steamer comprises a housing that includes a water reservoir and boiler or heater, as well as internal structures designed to prevent inadvertent leaking and emission of water and steam, and a folding handle.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1A is a front view of a portable steamer according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 1B is a side view of a portable steamer according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 1C is a rear view of a portable steamer according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 2A is a top view of a portable steamer according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 2B is a bottom view of a portable steamer according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 3A is a perspective view of a portable steamer according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 3B is a perspective view of a component of a portable steamer according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 3C is a partial, perspective view of a portable steamer according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 3D is a perspective view of a portable steamer during a mode of use according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 4A is a schematic, side view of a portable steamer during a mode of use according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 4B is a schematic, front view of a portable steamer according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 5A is a perspective, cross-sectional view of a portable steamer according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 5B is a schematic, side cross-sectional view of a portable steamer according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 5C is a schematic, side cross-sectional view of a portable steamer according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention positioned horizontally.

FIG. 6A is a perspective view of a portable steamer according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention having its handle extended.

FIG. 6B is a perspective view of a portable steamer according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention having its handle collapsed.

FIG. 6C is a rear, perspective view of a portable steamer according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention having its handle collapsed.

FIG. 6D are top, front and side views of a portable steamer according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention having its handle collapsed.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT OF THE INVENTION

Referring to the drawing figures, a steamer (1) comprises a base (2), a top portion (3), a handle (4), a set of outlet nozzle openings (5) to emit steam vapor (32), a set of brush bristles (6), and a lint collecting pad (7). A water tank (8) is provided above the base (2). Internally located is a heater (9), which may be a PTC heater or other conventional type heater driven by electrical energy from an external or battery source. A first water and steam blocking structure (10), described in more detail below, is provided above the water tank (8). A second water and steam blocking structure (11), described in more detail below, is provided within the upper section (17) of the steamer (1) housing.

As shown in FIGS. 6A-6B, the handle (4) is connected to two struts (12, 13), each being connected to the exterior housing (14) of the steamer (1) and to the handle (4) by a set of hinges (15). The hinges (15) enable the handle (4) to be folded relatively upwardly and toward the steamer housing (14) to a handle-closed position as shown in FIG. 6B, from the handle-opened position of FIG. 6A. A handle-lock release button (16) activates a mechanical lock (not shown) of a conventional type to release the handle (4) from a locked handle-closed position.

Referring to FIG. 3D, in use the upper portion (3) of the housing is detached and removed from the remainder of the housing (14), so that water (18) may be added to the water tank (8). As shown in FIG. 3D, the first blocking structure (10) is a raised, cylindrically-shaped extension that projects above the ceiling (20) of the water tank (8). An opening (19) allows the water (18) to enter tank (8). The first blocking structure (10) includes a floor section (21) with an opening (22) as shown in FIG. 5B, and a ceiling section (30). Thus, water passing into and out of the water tank (8) must travel through the lower opening (22), through the generally cylindrical, vertically aligned interior (29) of the first blocking structure, and then through the upper opening (19). While the water rests in the tank (8) and is heated to and past boiling point, resultant steam rises out of the tank (8) through first opening (22) and then opening (19). The steam passes through an intermediate chamber (23) located in the upper section (17). It then reaches and passes through an opening (24) in the second blocking structure (11). The second blocking structure (11) is shaped generally like a cylinder and is positioned horizontally and in alignment with the outlet nozzle openings (5). Steam vapor (32) that emits from the steamer (1), thus, must pass through the second blocking structure (11) before exiting via the outlet nozzle openings (5). The second blocking structure (11) includes an opening (24) and a generally cylindrically shaped interior (31), wherein the interior (31) is in fluid communication with the outlet nozzle openings (5).

As shown in FIG. 5C, when the steamer (1) is tipped horizontally during use or inadvertently, water is prohibited from dripping or leaking out of the steamer (1). For example, the exterior wall (25) of the second blocking structure (11) traps the water (26) that collects in the intermediate chamber (23), preventing it from exiting the nozzles (5). The water contained in water tank (8) is trapped behind the ceiling (20) of the water tank (8) except for the water that rises up to the opening (22), which spills into the intermediate chamber (23). As is apparent, selection of the internal dimensions of the water tank (8), the intermediate chamber (23), and the sizes and locations of the openings and structures of the first and second blocking structures (10, 11) can be made to ensure that the maximum amount of water held in the water tank (8) will not be enough to leak from the nozzles (5) when the steamer is tipped horizontally as viewed from the side, as shown in FIG. 5C and in FIG. 4A, and when tipped within a range of 45 degrees in either direction when viewed from the front as shown in FIG. 4B. The heater (9) will still operate to produce steam vapor when the steamer (1) is tipped horizontally. The blocking structures (10, 11) also physically inhibit steam vapor from exiting too quickly from the tank (8) to the outlet nozzle openings (5).

The brush bristles (6) may be used to smooth or comb a fabric to which steam is being applied in order to help smooth out wrinkles and assist in penetration of steam. The lint pad (7) is used to remove lint and debris during use. A cup (27) may be included as part of a kit of accessories and used for adding water (18) to the steamer (1). The brush bristles (6) and lint pad (7) may be mounted to a removable plate (28) adapted to be selectively attached to or detached from the steamer (1) as desired.

The appliance 1 according to the present invention may be powered by an external electrical source such as a wall plug, via a conventional electrical cord (not shown), or it may be powered by conventional batteries (not shown) or by a conventional rechargeable source such as a rechargeable battery (not shown).

Although the preferred embodiment is described, by way of example, with reference to use as a garment steamer, such a steamer as described herein may have numerous other uses such as a cleaning appliance or glue and wallpaper remover, and other uses not specifically mentioned.

While the preferred embodiment has been disclosed, various modification can be made without departing from the scope of the present invention.