Title:
Brush with sliding collar
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A brush has a slidable collar that effectively shortens the bristles to a desired plurality of lengths. The collar preferably slides with respect to a support in a manner that effectively locks the collar in predetermined positions. The locking mechanism can be purely frictional, but preferably also used a detent, or any other suitable device that provides discrete stops. Such stops are preferably no more than 2 cm apart, and can advantageously be spaced no more than 1 cm apart. Contemplated devices can have 2, 3, 4, 5, or more stops. Collared brushes can advantageously be marketed specifically with respect to the slidable collar feature, and more specifically with respect to the applicability of such brushes to automotive use.



Inventors:
Dillon, John J. (Carlsbad, CA, US)
Application Number:
10/868545
Publication Date:
12/15/2005
Filing Date:
06/14/2004
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A46B9/10; (IPC1-7): A46B9/10
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
SPISICH, MARK
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
RUTAN & TUCKER, LLP (Irvine, CA, US)
Claims:
1. A brush, comprising: a handle, a heel form which extend a plurality of bristles, and a support piece disposed between the handle and the bristles; a substantially flattened collar slidable along the support piece between a fully retracted position in which the bristles have an effective length, and a fully extended position that restricts the plurality of bristles in a manner that effectively shortens the bristles, the collar having a circumferentially continuous cross-section that passes through the bristles, and includes a member that cooperates with the support piece to provide a plurality of discreet stop positions between the fully retracted and fully extended positions; and wherein the plurality of discreet stop positions are disposed on the support piece.

2. The brash of claim 1 wherein the collar restricts the bristles at least in part by surrounding the bristles.

3. The brush of claim 1 wherein the member comprises a detent.

4. The brush of claim 3 wherein at least two of the positions provide stops that are no more than 2 cm apart.

5. The brush of claim 3 wherein at least two of the positions provide stops that are no more than 1 cm apart.

6. The brush of claim 1 having at least three stops.

7. The brush of claim 1 having at least 4 stops.

8. The brush of claim 1 wherein the plurality of bristles have an average effective length of at least 6 cm when the collar is in a home position.

9. The brush of claim 1 wherein the collar can be moved to restrict the effective length of the plurality of bristles by at least 50%.

10. The brush of claim 1 wherein the collar can be moved to restrict the effective length of the plurality of bristles by at least 75%.

11. The brush of claim 1 wherein the plurality of bristles are arranged to provide an unrestricted brush width of at least 5 cm.

12. The brush of claim 11 wherein the collar serves to effectively reduce the brush width to less than 4 cm.

13. (canceled)

14. The brush of claim 1 wherein the handle includes at least one ergonomic adaptation.

15. The brush of claim 14 wherein the at least one ergonomic adaptation comprises a soft tough material.

16. A method of marketing a brush having a plurality of bristles, comprising: providing the brush with a slidable collar that alters a length of the bristles; advertising the brush as being useful in caring for an automotive vehicle.

17. The method of claim 14 further comprising a packaging depicting the collar as being slidable.

18. The method of claim 14 further comprising including an image of a portion of the automotive vehicle on the packaging.

19. The method of claim 14 further comprising depicting the slidable collar as a device for effectively altering a stiffness of the bristles.

20. The method of claim 14 wherein the step of advertising includes carrying a print ad depicting the brush in an advertising medium.

Description:

BACKGROUND

A wide variety of brushes are known, for painting, dusting, and cleaning of a variety of objects from teeth, to sinks, flooring, and clothing. Different sizes of brushes are better adapted for different uses, as are different lengths and types of bristles. Although a given household may have numerous brushes, it is sometimes desirable to utilize a single brush for considerably different applications.

It is desirable, for example, to use a relatively soft brush for cleaning soft plastics, leather and the like, and a relatively harder bristled brush for cleaning among crevices in a tire rim or wheel, or along the rim of an automobile trunk. Since the perceived hardness (flexibility) of the bristles relates in part to the effective length of the bristles, it would be desirable to have a single brush in which the length can be adjusted.

British patent 614241 (“Improvements in Dabbing Brushes for Woolen Combs” addressed the problem of bristles being worn down during use. There, however, the brushes were carried by a mechanical carriage rather than being hand-held, and the solution was to clip the worn tips of the bristles, and to rotate in backup brushes.

Thus, there is still a need for brushes where the bristles can be repeatedly effectively lengthened or shortened as needed by the user.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention provides apparatus, systems and methods in which a brush has a slidable collar that effectively shortens the bristles to a desired plurality of lengths.

The collar preferably slides with respect to a support in a manner that effectively locks the collar in predetermined positions. The locking mechanism can be purely frictional, but preferably also used a detent, or any other suitable device that provides discrete stops. Such stops are preferably no more than 2 cm apart, and can advantageously be spaced no more than 1 cm apart. Contemplated devices can have 2, 3, 4, 5, or more stops.

Restricting of the bristles in this manner is thought to be particularly useful where the effective length of the bristles is reduced by at least 50%, and more preferably at least 75%. Thus, a collar operating on a brush with bristles averaging about 10 cm in length when the collar is in a home position could effectively reduce the length of the bristles to only 5 cm, or even down to 2.5 cm or less.

Among the benefits is that the effective shortening of the bristles increases the effective stiffness of the bristles. A single brush could therefore be well adapted to both brushing dust off of a GPS (Global Satellite Positioning) display screen, and removing debris from around the rim of a tire.

The sliding collar can be used on a wide variety of brushes, including brushes having widely different sizes. Particularly contemplated brushes have standard brush width of 2″ (≈5 cm).

Preferred brushes have a handle that includes a least one ergonomic adaptation. An exemplary ergonomic adaptation is a soft touch material that improves the “feel” of the brush.

In yet other aspects of the invention, brushes can be marketed specifically with respect to the slidable collar feature, and focusing on the applicability to automotive use.

Various objects, features, aspects and advantages of the present invention will become more apparent from the following detailed description of preferred embodiments of the invention, along with the accompanying drawings in which like numerals represent like components.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING

FIG. 1 is a side view of a brush according to the present invention, with the collar is in a home position.

FIG. 2 is a plan view of the brush of FIG. 1, with the collar is in a home position.

FIG. 3 is a plan view of the brush of FIGS. 1 and 2, where the collar is positioned to effectively restrict the length of the bristles.

FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional view through 3-3 of FIG. 3.

FIG. 5 is a packaging for a brush with a movable collar.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

In FIGS. 1 and 2 a brush 10 generally comprises a handle 20, a heel portion (not shown) from which extend a plurality of bristles 30, and a slidable collar 40 disposed in a home position.

The handle 20 can comprise any suitable material, including wood, metal and/or hard plastic. In this particular example, the handle 20 is plastic about 1.5 cm thick, and has an ergonomically desirable soft touch material 22 on top and bottom to improve the “feel” of the brush. Handle 20 also has a hole 25 for hanging the brush 10, and an advertising medallion 27.

Bristles 30 can comprise any suitable material, depending on the application. For general automotive use the bristles are preferably nylon. In these scale drawing figures, the bristles have a longest effective length of about 2″ (≈5 cm).

Collar 40 is generally rhombohedral in shape, although it has an indented portion 42 to facilitate gripping by a user. There is also a medallion 44 that includes a logo or other trademark. Collar 40 can also be made of any suitable material, but is preferably made of the same hard plastic used for handle 20.

In FIG. 3 the collar 40 has been slid along a support 50 to restrict the bristles 30. In addition to shortening the effective length of the bristles 30 by more than half, the width of the grouping of bristles has been reduced from about 2″ (≈5 cm) to about 1.5″ (≈4 cm). Support 50 has numerous stops 52, four of which are shown. A greater or lesser number of stops is also contemplated.

FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional view through 3-3 of FIG. 3, which shows how a detent 46 cooperates with the stops 52 to lock the collar 40 in a particular position on the support 50. Those skilled in the art will appreciate that as used herein the term “lock” is used loosely to refer to a tendency of the mechanism to retain a desired position. Thus, cooperation of the detent 46 with any of the stops 52 constitutes locking of the collar 40 on the support 50, even though the “lock” can be overcome simply by pushing with sufficient force on the collar 40. An alternative would be to have no stops at all, and to rely entirely on friction between the collar 40 and the support 50 to establish the lock.

In FIG. 5 the brush of FIGS. 1-3 is packaged along with marketing materials 60 emphasizing the slidable collar feature, and advertising the brush for automotive use. The marketing materials include an image 62 of the brush in a shortened bristle position, and another image 64 of a person using the brush to clean an automobile tire rim. Also shown is explanatory text 66.

Thus, specific embodiments and applications of a slide lock brush have been disclosed. It should be apparent, however, to those skilled in the art that many more modifications besides those already described are possible without departing from the inventive concepts herein. The inventive subject matter, therefore, is not to be restricted except in the spirit of the appended claims. Moreover, in interpreting both the specification and the claims, all terms should be interpreted in the broadest possible manner consistent with the context. In particular, the terms “comprises” and “comprising” should be interpreted as referring to elements, components, or steps in a non-exclusive manner, indicating that the referenced elements, components, or steps may be present, or utilized, or combined with other elements, components, or steps that are not expressly referenced.