Title:
Household scrubbing brushes and methods of manufacture thereof
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Flexible household scrubbing brushes and methods of manufacture thereof are disclosed. The scrubbing brushes include a handle connected to a head. The head includes two opposing faces including a top face and a bottom face. The bottom face is connected to a plurality of bristles some or all of which are molded elastomer bristles. The top and bottom faces may also include a plurality of grooves to increase the flexibility of the head. The grooves are filled with elastomer material to improve the durability of the brush head without detracting from the flexibility thereof. The distal portion of the handle or the handle-head connection may also be slotted to enhance the flexibility of the brush. Brushes with thermal plastic bristles for cleaning cookware with non-stick coatings are also disclosed. Injection molded methods for fabricating the disclosed brushes are also disclosed.



Inventors:
Sander, David R. (Wooster, OH, US)
Kitzmiller, Aaron (Nova, OH, US)
Canton, Albert Gene (Wooster, OH, US)
Application Number:
10/365813
Publication Date:
08/19/2004
Filing Date:
02/13/2003
Assignee:
SANDER DAVID R.
KITZMILLER AARON
CANTON ALBERT GENE
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
300/21, 15/201
International Classes:
A46B1/00; (IPC1-7): A46B1/00; A46B3/22; A46B9/06; A46D3/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
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20100050350VARIABLE BELT TENSIONER FOR DRAIN CLEANING DEVICESMarch, 2010Babb et al.
20100017996DUSTER AND DUSTING APPARATUS USING THE SAMEJanuary, 2010Wu et al.
20060218739Wheel for removing adhesive tape and adhesiveOctober, 2006Hsu
20090094770Multi-filament Bristles for ToothbrushesApril, 2009Zoschke et al.
20100064462PERSPIRATION WIPEMarch, 2010Lemler et al.
20090013496Modular Street SweeperJanuary, 2009Byczynski
20020002753Superior toothbrushJanuary, 2002Graham
20080052857ROTARY SCRUB BRUSHMarch, 2008Mcconnell
20080087299Directional control for dual brush robotic pool cleanersApril, 2008Erlich et al.
20070283514Sanitary seat wipesDecember, 2007Burgwin



Primary Examiner:
KARLS, SHAY LYNN
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MARSHALL, GERSTEIN & BORUN LLP (CHICAGO, IL, US)
Claims:

What is claimed:



1. A household scrubbing brush comprising: a handle connected to neck which is connected to a head, the head being connected to a plurality of bristles, at least some of which comprise molded elastomer bristles.

2. The scrubbing brush of claim 1 wherein the head is connected to the handle by a neck, the neck providing an obtuse connected between the head and handle, the neck comprising at least one slot for enhancing flexibility of the head with respect to the handle.

3. The scrubbing brush of claim 1 wherein the slot in the neck is filled with elastomer.

4. The scrubbing brush of claim 1 further comprising a plurality of slots in the neck that are filled with elastomer.

5. The scrubbing brush of claim 1 wherein the head comprises two opposing faces including a top face and a bottom face, the bottom face being connected to a plurality of tufts of bristles and a plurality of molded elastomer bristles.

6. The scrubbing brush of claim 5 wherein the top and bottom faces comprising a plurality of grooves, each groove being filled with elastomer.

7. The scrubbing brush of claim 6 wherein the elastomer disposed in the grooves in the head are connected to molded elastomer bristles.

8. The scrubbing brush of claim 7 wherein portions of the bottom face of the head disposed between the grooves in the bottom face are connected to a plurality of tufts of bristles.

9. The scrubbing brush of claim 6 wherein the grooves of the top face and the grooves of the bottom face are in alignment with each other.

10. The scrubbing brush of claim 6 wherein the grooves of the top face and the grooves of the bottom face are staggered with respect to each other.

11. The scrubbing brush of claim 6 wherein the grooves of the top and bottom faces extend transversely across the top and bottom faces and generally perpendicular to the handle.

12. The scrubbing brush of claim 6 wherein the grooves of the top and bottom faces extend longitudinally along the top and bottom faces and generally parallel to the handle.

13. The scrubbing brush of claim 6 wherein some of the grooves of the top and bottom faces extend transversely across the top and bottom faces and generally perpendicular to the handle and other grooves of the top and bottom faces extend longitudinally along the top and bottom faces and generally parallel to the handle.

14. The scrubbing brush of claim 6 wherein some of the grooves of the top and bottom faces extend transversely across the top and bottom faces and generally perpendicular to the handle and at least one groove of the top face and at least one groove of the bottom face extend longitudinally along the top and bottom faces and generally parallel to the handle.

15. The scrubbing brush of claim 6 wherein some of the grooves of the top and bottom faces extend transversely across the top and bottom faces in a chevron pattern and at least one groove of the top face and at least one groove of the bottom face extend longitudinally along the top and bottom faces and generally parallel to the handle.

16. The scrubbing brush of claim 6 wherein some of the grooves of the top and bottom faces extend transversely across the top and bottom faces in a chevron pattern and one groove of the top face and one groove of the bottom face extend longitudinally along the top and bottom faces and generally in axial alignment with the handle.

17. The scrubbing brush of claim 16 wherein the elastomer disposed in the grooves of the bottom face is connected to a plurality of elastomeric bristles.

18. The scrubbing brush of claim 6 wherein the grooves of the bottom face extend between the tufts of bristles and the elastomer disposed in the grooves of the bottom face is connected to a plurality of molded elastomeric bristles.

19. The scrubbing brush of claim 6 wherein portions of the grooves of the top and bottom faces extend through the head to form slots extending through the head.

20. The scrubbing brush of claim 6 wherein the bristles are elastomer bristles which are molded to an elastomeric body which is connected to a lower surface of the head.

21. The scrubbing brush of claim 20 wherein the elastomer body is glued to the head.

22. The scrubbing brush of claim 20 wherein the elastomer body is molded onto the head and held in place by a tongue-in-groove connection.

23. The scrubbing brush of claim 20 wherein a top surface of the head is connected to at least one tuft of bristles.

24. A household scrubbing brush comprising: a handle connected to a head, the head comprising a shaft connected to and extending away from the handle, the shaft comprising a plurality of enlarged transverse bodies that are spaced apart from each other and the handle and a plurality of narrow sections to provide a plurality of transverse slotted openings one either side of the narrow sections of the shaft and between the handle and one of the enlarged transverse bodies and between the enlarged transverse bodies, each enlarged transverse body comprising two opposing faces including a top face and a bottom face, the bottom face of each enlarged transverse body being connected to a plurality of tufts of bristles, the transverse slotted openings being filled with elastomer material, the elastomer material being molded to form a plurality of molded elastomer bristles.

25. The scrubbing brush of claim 24 wherein the transverse slotted openings extend between the tufts of bristles.

26. The scrubbing brush of claim 24 wherein the top face of each transverse body comprises a longitudinal groove that is generally parallel with the handle, the longitudinal grooves of the top faces being filled with elastomer.

27. The scrubbing brush of claim 24 wherein the head is connected to the handle by a neck, the neck providing an obtuse connected between the head and handle, the neck comprising at least one slot for enhancing flexibility of the head with respect to the handle.

28. The scrubbing brush of claim 27 wherein the neck comprises a plurality of slots filled with elastomer.

29. A household scrubbing brush comprising: a handle comprising a distal end connected to a head, the head comprising a shaft connected to and extending away from the distal end of the handle, the shaft comprising at least three spaced apart transverse bodies including a proximate body that is spaced apart from the distal end of the handle, a middle body that is spaced apart from the proximate body and disposed between the proximate body and a distal body, the distal body being spaced apart from the middle body, the shaft further comprising narrow sections connecting the proximate body to the handle, the middle body to the proximate body and the distal body to the middle body, the narrow sections of the shaft defining a plurality of slotted openings on either side of narrow sections of the shaft and between the distal end of the handle and proximate body, between the proximate and middle bodies and between the middle and distal bodies, each body comprising two opposing faces including a top face and a bottom face, the bottom face of each transverse body being connected to a plurality of tufts of bristles, the slotted openings extend between the tufts of bristles, the slotted openings being filled with elastomer material at least some of which is connected to a plurality of elastomeric bristles.

30. A method of manufacturing a household scrubbing brush, the method comprising: injection molding a first structure comprising a handle connected to a head, the head comprising a shaft connected to and extending away from the handle, the shaft comprising a plurality of enlarged transverse bodies that are spaced apart from each other and the handle and a plurality of narrow sections linking the handle to one of the enlarged transverse bodies and the other enlarged transverse bodies together to provide a plurality of slotted openings one either side of the narrow sections of the shaft and between the handle and one of the enlarged transverse bodies and between the enlarged transverse bodies, each enlarged transverse body comprising two opposing faces including a top face and a bottom face, the top face of each transverse body comprising a longitudinal groove that is generally parallel with the handle, injection molding a second elastomeric structure in the slotted openings, around the narrow sections of the shaft and in the longitudinal grooves of the first structure, the second structure further comprising a plurality of bristles extending downward between the bottom faces of the enlarged transverse bodies of the first structure, attaching a plurality of tufts of bristles to the bottom faces of the enlarged transverse bodies of the first structure.

31. The method of claim 30 wherein the first structure is molded from a material selected from the group consisting of low density polyethylene, linear low density polyethylene, polypropylene, polyethyleneterepthalate, polyvinylchloride, polycarbonate and mixtures thereof.

32. The method of claim 30 wherein the second structure is molded from one or more thermal plastic elastomers.

Description:

TECHNICAL FIELD

[0001] An improved flexible household scrubbing brush is disclosed which includes molded elastomer bristles for cleaning non-stick coated pots and plans. Further, the improved scrubbing brush also includes a flexible head that enables portions of the head, which is connected to tufts of bristles, to flex with respect to other portions of the head and the handle thereby greatly facilitating use of the brush to clean corners of rectangular pans, areas under the lips of pans and other hard-to-reach surfaces of household items. Further, methods of manufacturing such flexible scrubbing brushes are also disclosed.

BACKGROUND OF THE RELATED ART

[0002] Plastic household scrubbing brushes are known. These items are extremely useful for removing food and other debris from cooking utensils, such as pots and pans. Also, these brushes can be used for cleaning sinks, bathrooms and other areas of the home or office. Essentially, plastic household scrubbing brushes are useful for a wide variety of cleaning chores where it is preferable to use plastic bristles to clean away dirt and grime.

[0003] One problem associated with currently available plastic household scrubbing brushes is the lack of flexibility of the head and lack of flexibility of the connection between the head and the handle. Specifically, due to the rigid connection between the handle and the head, there is little or no flexibility between the handle or head and, as a result, the currently available brushes are not effective in cleaning hard-to-reach areas such as the corners of rectangular pots and pans and under the lips of circular pots and pans. Further, because the head itself is rigid, and is not capable of flexing, the user must apply a great deal of pressure in order to press the plastic bristles down into hard-to-reach areas for removing debris.

[0004] Thus, the currently available plastic household scrubbing brushes cannot be used effectively by people with weak hands, such as senior citizens or others suffering from joint discomfort. Further, currently available household scrubbing brushes are not very effective in removing debris from hard to reach surfaces.

[0005] Further, currently available scrubbing brushes typically include tufts of bristles wherein the tufts include a plurality of filaments or fibers. These tufts of bristles are useful for cleaning metallic pots and pans and plastic containers and bowls but, in the case of non-stick coated cookware, the tufts of bristles are found to impart undue wear and tear to the non-stick coatings. Accordingly, an improved scrubbing brush is needed which imparts less wear and tear to non-stick coatings.

SUMMARY OF THE DISCLOSURE

[0006] An improved household scrubbing brush is disclosed which comprises a handle connected to a head, the head comprises two opposing faces including a top face and a bottom face. The bottom face is connected to a plurality of tufts of bristles at least some of which are molded elastomeric bristles. In a refinement, the top bottom and face comprise a plurality of grooves. Each groove is filled with elastomer material. The combination of the grooves and elastomer material result in the head being flexible. The elastomer disposed in the grooves can be used to form the molded elastomeric bristles.

[0007] In a refinement, the top face also includes a plurality of grooves and the grooves in the top face and the grooves in the bottom face are in alignment with each other.

[0008] In a refinement, the grooves of the top face and the grooves of the bottom face are staggered with respect to each other.

[0009] In a refinement, the grooves of the top and bottom faces extend transversely across the top and bottom faces and generally perpendicular to the handle.

[0010] In a refinement, the grooves of the top and bottom faces extend longitudinally along the top and bottom faces and generally parallel to the handle.

[0011] In a refinement, some of the grooves of the top and bottom faces extend transversely across the top and bottom faces and generally perpendicular to the handle and other grooves of the top and bottom faces extend longitudinally along the top and bottom faces and generally parallel to the handle.

[0012] In a refinement, some of the grooves of the top and bottom faces extend transversely across the top and bottom faces and generally perpendicular to the handle and at least one groove of the top face and at least one groove of the bottom face extend longitudinally along the top and bottom faces and generally parallel to the handle.

[0013] In a refinement, some of the grooves of the top and bottom faces extend transversely across the top and bottom faces in a chevron pattern and at least one groove of the top face and at least one groove of the bottom face extend longitudinally along the top and bottom faces and generally parallel to the handle.

[0014] In a refinement, some of the grooves of the top and bottom faces extend transversely across the top and bottom faces in a chevron pattern and one groove of the top face and one groove of the bottom face extend longitudinally along the top and bottom faces and generally in axial alignment with the handle.

[0015] In a refinement, the grooves of the bottom face extend between the tufts of bristles.

[0016] In a refinement, the elastomer disposed in the grooves of the bottom face is connected to a plurality of elastomeric bristles.

[0017] In a refinement, portions of the grooves of the top and bottom faces extend through the head to form slots extending through the head.

[0018] In a refinement, the handle or neck connecting the handle to the head comprises a plurality of transverse grooves to increase the flexibility of the handle-head connection.

[0019] In a refinement, the grooves of the handle are filled with elastomer.

[0020] In a further refinement, a household scrubbing brush comprises a handle connected to a head. The head comprises a shaft connected to and extending away from the handle. The shaft comprises a plurality of enlarged transverse bodies that are spaced apart from each other and the handle and a plurality of narrow sections to provide a plurality of transverse slotted openings one either side of the narrow sections of the shaft and between the handle and one of the enlarged transverse bodies and between the enlarged transverse bodies. Each enlarged transverse body comprises two opposing faces including a top face and a bottom face. The bottom face of each enlarged transverse body is connected to a plurality of tufts of bristles. The transverse slotted openings are filled with elastomer material connected to a plurality of elastomeric bristles.

[0021] In a refinement, the top face of each transverse body comprises a longitudinal groove that is generally parallel with the handle, the longitudinal grooves of the top faces being filled with elastomer.

[0022] In a refinement, the distal end of the handle includes a plurality of slots or grooves to enhance the flexibility or the handle-head connection.

[0023] In a further refinement, a household scrubbing brush is disclosed which comprises a handle comprising a distal end connected to a head. The head comprises a shaft connected to and extending away from the distal end of the handle. The shaft comprises at least three spaced apart transverse bodies including a proximate body that is spaced apart from the distal end of the handle, a middle body that is spaced apart from the proximate body and disposed between the proximate body and a distal body. The distal body is spaced apart from the middle body. The shaft further comprises narrow sections connecting the proximate body to the handle, the middle body to the proximate body and the distal body to the middle body. The narrow sections of the shaft define a plurality of slotted openings on either side of narrow sections of the shaft and between the distal end of the handle and proximate body, between the proximate and middle bodies and between the middle and distal bodies. Each transverse body comprises two opposing faces including a top face and a bottom face. The bottom face of each transverse body is connected to a plurality of tufts of bristles. The slotted openings are filled with elastomer material that forms a plurality of elastomeric bristles.

[0024] A method of manufacturing a household scrubbing brush is disclosed which comprises injection molding a first structure that comprises a handle connected to a head. The head comprises a shaft connected to and extending away from the handle. The shaft comprises a plurality of enlarged transverse bodies that are spaced apart from each other and the handle and a plurality of narrow sections linking the handle to one of the enlarged transverse bodies and the other enlarged transverse bodies together to provide a plurality of slotted openings on either side of the narrow sections of the shaft and between the handle and one of the enlarged transverse bodies and between the enlarged transverse bodies. Each enlarged transverse body comprises two opposing faces including a top face and a bottom face. The top face of each transverse body comprises a longitudinal groove that is generally parallel with the handle.

[0025] The method further comprises injection molding a second elastomeric structure in the slotted openings, around the narrow sections of the shaft and in the longitudinal grooves of the first structure. The second structure further comprises a plurality of bristles extending downward between the bottom faces of the enlarged transverse bodies of the first structure.

[0026] The method further comprises attaching a plurality of tufts of bristles to the bottom faces of the enlarged transverse bodies of the first structure.

[0027] In a refinement, the first structure is molded from a material selected from the group consisting of low density polyethylene, linear low density polyethylene, polypropylene, polyethyleneterepthalate, polyvinylchloride, polycarbonate and mixtures thereof.

[0028] In a refinement, the second structure is molded from one or more thermal plastic elastomers (TPE).

[0029] In yet another refinement, a household scrubbing brush is disclosed which comprises a handle connected to a head. A head is then connected to a plurality of elastimeric bristles. In a further refinement, the bristles are fabricated from a thermal plastic elastimer (TPE) as opposed to natural fiber or plastic filament bristles. And still another refinement, the disclosed brush which comprises all TPE bristles can be equipped with any one of the flexible head and/or handle designs disclosed above.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0030] The invention is described more or less diagrammatically in the accompanying drawings wherein:

[0031] FIG. 1 is a partial side view of a disclosed scrubbing brush;

[0032] FIG. 2 is a partial top plan view of the scrubbing brush of FIG. 1;

[0033] FIG. 3 is a partial bottom plan view of the scrubbing brush of FIG. 1, with the bristles removed;

[0034] FIG. 4 is a partial side view of another disclosed scrubbing brush;

[0035] FIG. 5 is a partial side view of yet another disclosed scrubbing brush;

[0036] FIG. 6 is a partial side view of yet another disclosed scrubbing brush;

[0037] FIG. 7 is a partial top plan view of the scrubbing brush shown in FIG. 6;

[0038] FIG. 8 is a partial bottom plan view of the scrubbing brush of FIG. 6, with the bristles removed;

[0039] FIG. 9 is a sectional view taken substantially along line 9-9 of FIG. 7;

[0040] FIG. 10 is an end view of the scrubbing brush of FIG. 6;

[0041] FIG. 11 is a partial side view of yet another disclosed scrubbing brush;

[0042] FIG. 12 is a partial top plan view of the scrubbing brush of FIG. 11;

[0043] FIG. 13 is a partial bottom plan view of the scrubbing brush of FIG. 11;

[0044] FIG. 14 is a sectional view taken substantially along line 14-14 of FIG. 12;

[0045] FIG. 15 is an end view of the scrubbing brush of FIG. 11;

[0046] FIG. 16 is a side plan view of a handle and head portion of yet another disclosed scrubbing brush;

[0047] FIG. 17 is a top plan view of the handle and head portion of the scrubbing brush of FIG. 16;

[0048] FIG. 18 is a sectional view taken substantially along line 18-18 of FIG. 17;

[0049] FIG. 19 is a sectional view taken substantially along line 19-19 of FIG. 17;

[0050] FIG. 20 is a sectional view taken substantially along line 20-20 of FIG. 16;

[0051] FIG. 21 is partial top plan view of the head and handle portion of the scrubbing brush as shown in FIG. 16 equipped with bristles and a second elastomeric structure.

[0052] FIG. 22 is a sectional view taken substantially along line 22-22 of FIG. 21;

[0053] FIG. 23 is a sectional view taken substantially along line 23-23 of FIG. 21;

[0054] FIG. 24 is a sectional view taken substantially along line 24-24 of FIG. 21;

[0055] FIG. 25 is a perspective view of a scrubbing brush equipped with TPE bristles;

[0056] FIG. 26 is a side plan view of another scrubbing brush equipped with TPE bristles;

[0057] FIG. 27 is a perspective view of yet another scrubbing brush equipped with TPE bristles; and

[0058] FIG. 28 is a perspective view of yet another scrubbing brush equipped with TPE bristles.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PRESENTLY PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

[0059] The embodiments disclosed in FIGS. 1-24 specifically disclose flexible heads or handles with and without elastimeric (TPE) bristles. It will be noted that this disclosure is intended to cover conventional brushes with conventional handles connected to conventional heads with TPE bristles which avoid in parting undue wear and tear on non-stick codings on pots and pans. Thus, this disclosure includes embodiments which have a conventional brush design with thermal plastic elastimer bristles, flexible handles with natural bristles, plastic filament bristles and/or TPE bristles, brushes with flexible heads having natural bristles, filament bristles and/or TPE bristles and brushes with flexible heads and handles again, with natural bristles, plastic filament bristles and/or TPE bristles. The embodiments with relatively conventional handles and heads are illustrated in FIGS. 25-28.

[0060] FIG. 1 is a partial side view of a brush 30 that includes a handle 31 connected to a head 32. The head 32 includes a plurality of transverse slots including the slots 33 disposed through a top face 34 of the head 32 and the slots 35 disposed through a bottom face 36 of the head 32. See also FIGS. 2 and 3 which are top and bottom plan views of the head 32. In the case of FIG. 3, the 37 of bristles have been removed for clarity.

[0061] The slots or grooves 33, 34 through the head 32 increase the flexibility of the head 32 thereby enabling the head 32 to bend so that the bristles 37 may be more easily pressed into hard-to-reach areas such as corners of pots and pans, under the rims of pots and pans and other difficult to reach areas in a home or office which require a brush or bristles for debris removal. Preferably, the grooves 33, 35 are filled with an elastomer material. The elastomer material can, in the case of the bottom grooves 35, be used to form elastomer molded bristles 37a shown in phantom in FIG. 1. The elastomer bristles 37a are excellent for cleaning cookware with non-stick coatings that are relatively fragile or subject to scratching from normal filament-type bristles shown at 37. More preferably, the elastomer material is a thermal plastic elastomer (TPE) material. Mixtures of various TPE materials may be utilized. In contrast, the material which comprises the head 32 and handle 31 may be a more sturdy or rigid material such as polypropylene. Other suitable materials include low density polyethylene, linear low density polyethylene, polyethyleneterepthalate, polyvinylchloride, polycarbonate and mixtures thereof. Further, the distal portion of the handle 31 may include one or more sots 38 to enhance the flexibility of the head 32-handle 31 connection.

[0062] The grooves 33, 35 may be modified from the embodiment illustrated in FIGS. 1-3. Specifically, referring to FIG. 4, the brush 30a includes a handle 31a connected to a head 32a. The head 32a includes transverse slots 33a in the top face 34a thereof. Bristles 37 are connected to the bottom face 36a. Again, the transverse slots 33a are preferably filled with TPE.

[0063] In contrast, turning to FIG. 5, a brush 30b is illustrated with a handle 31b connected to a head 32b which includes transverse slots 35b disposed in the bottom face 36b of the head 32b. The slots 35b extend between the bristles 37 and, again, are preferably filled with TPE which can be used to form elastomeric bristles 37a.

[0064] Turning to FIGS. 6-10, yet another embodiment is disclosed. As shown in FIG. 6, the brush 30c includes a handle 31c connected to a head 32c. Referring to FIGS. 6-8, the head 32c includes a plurality of transverse slots 41 that extend through the head 32c on either side of a central shaft 42 or linking sections 42 as shown in FIGS. 6 and 9. The narrow sections 42 connect the larger transverse section shown at 43. As a result, the slots 41 extend through the head 32c on either side of the narrow connecting sections 42 and, preferably, the slots 41 are filled with TPE which, in turn, may be used to form TPE bristles 37a. An advantage of the design illustrated in FIGS. 6-10 is that it is flexible in at least two different directions. That is, referring to FIG. 6, the distal end 44 of the brush 30c can bend upward and downward as indicated by the arrow 45. This flexibility is provided by the transverse slots 41. Further, as indicated in FIG. 10, the lateral side edges 46, 47 of the brush 30c can also bend upward and downward as indicated by the arrows 49 due to the longitudinal slot 51 which is also preferably filled with TPE. The elastomer material is indicated in FIG. 9 at 52.

[0065] Still another embodiment is illustrated in FIGS. 11-15. The brush 30d includes a handle 31d connected to a head 32d. Similar to the embodiment 30c illustrated in FIGS. 6-10, the head 32d includes a plurality of transverse slots 41d arranged in a chevron-like pattern and that are intersected by a longitudinal slot 51d. Similar to the embodiment 30c illustrated in FIGS. 6-10, the head 32d includes narrow connecting portions 42d which link larger transverse sections 43d together and to the handle 31d. Conventional tufts of bristles 37 are connected to the enlarged transverse sections 43d as shown in FIG. 11. However, the elastomer material 52d used to fill the slots 41d and 51d are also molded so as to provide elastomer bristles shown at 53 in FIGS. 11 and 13. The bristles 37 have been removed in the view shown in FIG. 13 and the holes 54 for accommodating the bristles 37 are exposed. Similar to the embodiment 30c shown in FIGS. 6-10, the brush 30d can flex in both an upward and downward direction as indicated by the arrow 45d of FIG. 11 and further is capable of transverse flexing as indicated by the arrows 48, 49d of FIG. 15.

[0066] Turning to FIGS. 16-24, an additional embodiment is disclosed whereby a first structure that comprises a handle 31e and a head 32e is injection molded to form the structure shown in FIG. 16. Again, the head 32e includes a plurality of enlarged transverse sections 43e linked by narrower sections 42e and linked to the handle by a narrow section 42e as illustrated in FIGS. 16-20.

[0067] After the first structure comprising the handle 31e and head 32e is molded, a second structure of elastomeric material such as TPE is molded into the transverse slots 41e and longitudinal slot 51e and around the narrow connecting sections 42e as shown in FIG. 22. Further, similar to the embodiment illustrated in FIGS. 11-15, the elastomer material 52e is used to fabricate elastomeric bristles 53. Conventional bristles are shown at 37. The flexing capabilities of the brush 30e illustrated in FIGS. 16-24 is similar to that of the brush 30d illustrated in FIGS. 11-15 and the brush 30c illustrated in FIGS. 6-10.

[0068] In manufacturing the brushes disclosed in FIGS. 1-24, the structure that comprises the handle 31 and head 32 is injection molded first and the elastomer material is injection molded into the slots or grooves disposed in the head 32. The conventional bristles 37 are subsequently added.

[0069] FIG. 25 is a perspective view of a brush 30f with a handle 31f connected to a head 32f. The head 32f is connected to a molded thermal plastic elastimer body 61f which comprises a plurality downwardly extending bristles 62f and a plurality of laterally outwardly extending bristles 63f. A top side 64f of the head is also connected to one or more tops 65f of bristles which may be of the TPE type, natural bristles or plastic filament bristles.

[0070] Alternative embodiments of the brush 30f are illustrated at 30g, 30h and 30i in FIGS. 26, 27 and 28 respectively. The bodies 61f-61i may be attached to their respective head 32f-32i adhesively, by a tongue-in-groove connection or other suitable attachment means. The TPE body 61f-61i may or may not include the laterally outwardly extending bristles 63f shown in FIG. 25. Additionally, it may be preferable that the bristles 65f-65i that extend outwardly from the upper surfaces 64f-64i of the heads 32f-32i consist of natural bristles or plastic filament bristles which may be better at removing stains and baked-on or burnt-on deposits from certain items not equipped with non-stick codings. In addition, the upper bristles 65f-65i may include metallic bristles for this purpose.

[0071] While only certain embodiments have been set forth, alternative embodiment and various modifications will be apparent from the above description to those skilled in the art. These and other alternatives are considered equivalents and within the spirit and scope of this disclosure.