Title:
Extension pipe supporting apparatus and a vacuum cleaner having the same
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An extension pipe supporting apparatus is pivotally attached to a vacuum cleaner extension so as to be retractable into a storage position. The extension pipe supporting apparatus provides an included support for a vacuum cleaner extension pipe by which a vacuum cleaner extension pipe can be independently supported in a substantially upright position. The extension pipe supporting apparatus comprises a shell member mounted to an extension pipe of the vacuum cleaner, and a supporting member engaged with the shell member and pivoting between a first position and a second position, the first position in which the extension pipe is supported in a standing posture on a floor and the second position in which the supporting member is folded to be in contact with the extension pipe. Accordingly, the user can keep the extension pipe in a standing posture on a floor, and therefore, the user does not have to bend over to pick up the extension pipe from the floor when restarting the cleaning work.



Inventors:
Park, Joung-soo (Jeonju-si, KR)
Application Number:
10/991062
Publication Date:
12/15/2005
Filing Date:
11/17/2004
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47L9/00; A47L9/24; (IPC1-7): A47L9/02
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
MCDONALD, SHANTESE L
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
LADAS & PARRY LLP (CHICAGO, IL, US)
Claims:
1. An extension pipe supporting apparatus for a vacuum cleaner extension pipe comprising: a shell member mounted to an extension pipe of the vacuum cleaner; and a supporting member pivotally engaged with the shell member and pivoting between a first position wherein the supporting member supports the extension pipe and a second position wherein the supporting member is folded against the shell member.

2. The extension pipe supporting apparatus of claim 1, wherein the shell member comprises first and second shell members engaged with each other around the extension pipe and respectively comprising a hinge recess, and wherein, the supporting member comprises a pair of hinge projections rotatably received in the hinge recess.

3. The extension pipe supporting apparatus of claim 2, comprising: a first elastic spring member coupled to the hinge projections to elastically support the supporting member in the first position; and a lock to lock the supporting member in the second position.

4. The extension pipe supporting apparatus of claim 3, wherein the first elastic spring member comprises a torsion spring.

5. The extension pipe supporting apparatus of claim 3, wherein the locking unit comprises: a pair of hook members having a projection recess and a protrusion and mounted to the left and the right shells to move between a locked position and an unlocked position; a second elastic spring member for elastically supporting the hook member in the locked position; a supporting member actuating button on the shell member to move the hook member to the unlocked position; and a latching jaw formed on the supporting member for engagement with the hook member in the locked position of the hook member.

6. The extension pipe supporting apparatus of claim 5, comprising a pair of auxiliary supporting members mounted at an end of the supporting member to widen a contacting surface of the supporting member with the floor in the first position, wherein the auxiliary supporting members are respectively provided with the latching jaw.

7. The extension pipe supporting apparatus of claim 6, wherein the pair of auxiliary supporting members are pivotably mounted to the supporting member by a pin with a third elastic spring member disposed thereon so as to be folded in the locked position of the hook member and unfolded in the unlocked position of the hook member.

8. A vacuum cleaner comprising: a cleaner body; an extension pipe connected to the cleaner body through a flexible hose that couples the cleaner body to the extension pipe and which forms a suction path; a suction brush connected to an end of the extension pipe; and an extension pipe supporting apparatus operatively coupled to the extension pipe, supporting the extension pipe to stand on a floor; wherein the extension pipe comprises: a shell member mounted to the extension pipe of the vacuum cleaner; and a supporting member engaged with the shell member and pivoting between a first position in which the extension pipe is supported in a standing posture on a floor and a second position in which the supporting member is folded to be in contact with the shell member.

9. The vacuum cleaner of claim 8, wherein the shell member comprises first and second shell members engaged with each other around the extension pipe and respectively comprising a hinge recess, and the supporting member comprises a pair of hinge projections rotatably received in the hinge recess.

10. The extension pipe supporting apparatus of claim 9, comprising: a first elastic spring member, elastically supporting the supporting member to the first position; and a locking unit for locking the supporting member in the second position.

11. The extension pipe supporting apparatus of claim 10, wherein the first elastic spring member comprises a torsion spring.

12. The extension pipe supporting apparatus of claim 10, wherein the locking unit comprises: a pair of hook members having a projection recess and a protrusion and mounted to the left and the right shells to move between a locked position and an unlocked position; a second elastic spring member for elastically supporting the hook member in the locked position; a supporting member actuating button mounted on the shell member to press the projection recess and thereby move the hook member to the unlocked position; and a latching jaw formed on the supporting member for engagement with the hook member in the locked position of the hook member.

13. The extension pipe supporting apparatus of claim 12, comprising a pair of auxiliary supporting members mounted at an end of the supporting member to enlarge a contacting surface of the supporting member with the floor in the first position, wherein the auxiliary supporting members are respectively provided with the latching jaw.

14. The extension pipe supporting apparatus of claim 13, wherein the pair of auxiliary supporting members are pivotably mounted to the supporting member by a pin with a third elastic spring member disposed thereon so as to be folded in the locked position of the hook member and unfolded in the unlocked position of the hook member.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims the benefit of Korean Patent Application No. 2004-42028, filed Jun. 9, 2004, in the Korean Intellectual Property Office, the disclosure of which is incorporated herein by reference.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates generally to vacuum cleaners and more particularly, to an extension pipe supporting apparatus which supports a vacuum cleaner extension pipe to stand on a floor. The invention also relates to a vacuum cleaner having an apparatus to support the vacuum cleaner's extension pipe.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

As is well known, vacuum cleaners clean a surface using a vacuum generated by a motor-driven fan mounted in a vacuum cleaner body. Prior art canister vacuums are comprised of a cleaner body or housing that encloses a motor that provides power by which a vacuum is generated. They also comprise a suction brush or other cleaning tool, an extension pipe to which the suction brush or other cleaning tool is attached, an operation handle and a flexible hose. The flexible hose couples the extension pipe to the cleaner body.

Most users grip the handle or the extension pipe while using the vacuum. A problem with prior art vacuums in general, however, and canister vacuums in particular, is that whenever a user has to temporarily stop using the vacuum, to pick up or arrange things on a floor for example, the user must either lay the handle and pipe down on the floor or find something to lean the handle and pipe against. In order to resume the cleaning work using the vacuum cleaner, the user has to bend over to pick up the operation handle and the extension pipe from the floor, which is an inconvenience. Anyone who has used a vacuum knows that repeatedly bending over to pickup the handle and extension pipe becomes tiring. Some people, such as some elderly people, are unable to bend over. A device by which a vacuum cleaner extension pipe can be held upright when it's not in use would be an improvement over the prior art.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

An aspect of the present invention is to solve at least the above problems and/or disadvantages and to provide at least the advantages described below. Accordingly, an aspect of the present invention is to provide an apparatus for supporting the extension pipe of a vacuum cleaner such that a vacuum cleaner user can prop the vacuum cleaner extension pipe on the supporting apparatus and attend to other tasks, without having to bend over to pick up the vacuum cleaner extension pipe off of the floor, or locate a structure against which the handle and pip can be leaned.

In order to achieve the above-described aspects of the present invention, there is provided a vacuum cleaner extension pipe supporting apparatus comprising a shell member mounted to an extension pipe of the vacuum cleaner and, a supporting member connected to the shell member and pivoting from the shell member between a first position and a second position. When the supporting member is in its first position, the vacuum cleaner extension pipe is supported in a standing posture on a floor. When the supporting member is in its second position, the supporting member is folded upwardly and out of the vacuum cleaner user's way, such that the supporting member is in contact with either the vacuum cleaner extension pipe or the shell member.

The extension pipe supporting apparatus comprises first and second shell members that engage each other and wrap around the vacuum cleaner extension pipe and engage to enclose and grip the extension pipe's exterior surface. The first and second shell member comprise hinge recesses. The supporting member comprises a pair of hinge projections rotatably received in the hinge recess.

The extension pipe supporting apparatus also comprises one or more elastic spring members to elastically project the supporting member into the first position. The extension pipe supporting member also provides a lock for locking the supporting member in the retracted, second position. In the preferred embodiment, an elastic spring member is a torsion spring.

The locking unit comprises a pair of hook members having a projection recess and a protrusion and mounted to the left and the right shells to move between a locked position and an unlocked position. A second elastic spring member elastically supports the hook member in the locked position. A supporting member actuating button mounted on one or both of the shell members moves the hook member to an unlocked position. A latching jaw formed on the supporting member engages the hook member in the locked position of the supporting member.

Auxiliary supporting members are pivotably mounted to one end of the supporting member by a pin with a third elastic spring member so as to be folded in the locked position of the hook member and unfolded in the unlocked position of the hook member. Accordingly, when locking of the supporting member is released, the auxiliary supporting members are spread to prevent the extension pipe from inclining or falling down.

In order to achieve another aspect of the present invention, there is provided a cleaner body; an extension pipe connected to the cleaner body and forming a suction path; a suction brush connected to an end of the extension pipe; and an extension pipe supporting apparatus for supporting the extension pipe to stand on a floor during a cleaning work. The extension pipe comprises a shell member mounted to an extension pipe of the vacuum cleaner; and a supporting member connected to the shell member and pivoting between a first position and a second position, the first position in which the extension pipe is supported in a standing posture on a floor and the second position in which the supporting member is folded to be in contact with the extension pipe.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING FIGURES

The above aspect and other features of the present invention will become more apparent by describing in detail exemplary embodiments thereof with reference to the attached drawing figures, wherein;

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a vacuum cleaner provided with an extension pipe supporting apparatus according to one embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is an exploded perspective view of an embodiment of an extension pipe supporting apparatus;

FIG. 3 is a sectional view showing the extension pipe supporting apparatus of FIG. 2;

FIG. 4 is a perspective view showing the extension pipe supporting apparatus supporting a vacuum cleaner extension pipe; and

FIG. 5 is a side view showing the extension pipe supporting apparatus of FIG. 4 in use.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Hereinafter, an embodiment of the present invention will be described in detail with reference to the accompanying figures. In the following description, drawing reference numerals are used for the same elements in different drawings. The matters described in the following description, such as the construction details and elements shown in the figures, are only illustrative and should not be construed to be limiting. Well-known functions and devices used in vacuum cleaners are omitted for brevity since such unnecessary detail would tend to obscure novel aspects of the invention disclosed and claimed herein.

As shown in FIG. 1, a vacuum cleaner comprises a cleaner body 10, a flexible hose 20, an operation handle 30, an extension pipe 40, a suction brush 50 and an extension pipe supporting apparatus 100 that enables the extension pipe 40 of the vacuum cleaner to stand substantially upright on the floor, by itself.

As shown in FIGS. 1 to 3, the extension pipe supporting apparatus 100 comprises a shell member 110 (FIG. 3) mounted or attached to the extension pipe 40 and a supporting member 120 that is hinged to the shell member 110.

As shown in FIG. 2, the shell member 110 comprises a left shell 111 and a right shell 112 engaged with each other to enclose or wrap around the extension pipe 40, which is not shown in FIG. 2. The left and the right shells 111 and 112 are connected to each other by a plurality of bolts or screws by which the shells 111 and 112 tightly grasp the extension pipe 40. As can be seen in FIG. 2, the shells 111 and 112 are shaped to form an opening that faces the floor and into which the supporting member 120 can be stored when it is a folded upward, i.e., in its “second” position. That the supporting member 120 can be folded is enabled by a hinge formed into the left and the right shells 111 and 112. The hingeincludes hinge recesses 113 and 114 that are sized, shaped and arrange to accept the first and second hinge projections 121A and 121B of the supporting member 120.

Accordingly, the supporting member 120 comprises a first hinge projection 121A that engages the first hinge recess 114. A second hinge projection 121B engages the second hinge recess 113. Accordingly, the supporting member 120 is able to pivot between a first position in which the extension pipe 40 is supported in a standing posture on a floor and a second position in which the supporting member 120 is folded to contact with the extension pipe 40.

The first hinge projection 121 A has a first elastic spring member, which in the preferred embodiment is a first a torsion spring 116A. One end 117A of the first torsion spring 116A is supported by an elastic spring member support 123 formed into the supporting member 120. The second end 117B of the first torsion spring 116A is supported by an inner wall (not shown) of the shell member 110. The first torsion spring member 11 6A is mounted in the first hinge recesses 114. The second hinge projection 121B has a second torsion spring member 116B that is mounted in the second hinge recess 113. The first and second torsion spring members 116A and 116B, together with the first and second hinge projections 121A and 121B, enable the supporting member 120 to pivot from the second or “up” position to the first or “down” position. Depending on how the torsion springs are installed, the first and second elastic spring members 116A and 116B can act to urge the supporting member 120 downwardly to its first position where the supporting member 120 acts to support the extension pipe, or the elastic spring members 116A and 116B can act to lift or raise the supporting member 120 upwardly to its second position where the supporting member 120 is locked up and kept out of the way of the user by a locking unit 200. In other words, depending on the installation of the elastic spring members 116A and 116B, they can act to urge the supporting member 120 in a direction indicated by an arrow of FIG. 4 when the locking unit 200 is released.

The locking unit 200 comprises a supporting member actuating button 210, a hook member 220, a second elastic spring member 225, and a latching jaw 231. The locking unit 200 is mounted at an outside of the shell member 110, relatively close to the cleaning brush or other working tool attached to the extension pipe 40.

The supporting member actuating button 210 is received in a button seat 118 formed by assembling the left and the right shells 111 and 112 together. A restricting rib 211 is formed on an outer periphery of the supporting member actuating button 210, and a pressing projection 212 for depressing the hook member 220 projectsfrom the button's bottom to face the hook members 221 and 222.

The button seat 118 protrudes from an upper surface of the left and the right shells 111 and 112, such that a user can easily find and press the supporting member actuating button 210 from the “top” of the extension tube.

As can be seen in FIG. 2, the button seating portion 118 comprises a rib groove 119 corresponding to the restricting rib 211 in the button 210. The rib groove 119 has a predetermined height so that the supporting member actuating button 210 can slide in the supporting member actuating button seating portion 118 between first and second positions. Accordingly, the rib groove 119 receives the restricting rib 211, thereby preventing separation of the supporting member actuating button 210.

The hook member 220 holds the supporting member 120 up and out of the way. It is mounted in the left and the right shells 111 and 112 so that it's able to move in response to the supporting member actuating button 210. As shown in FIG. 2, the hook member 220 comprises a first hook member 221 pivotally hinged at the left shell 111 and a second hook member 222 pivotally hinged at the right shell 112.

The first and the second hook members 221 and 222 each have a a hinge projection 223 that slidably engages a hinge guide groove 117. A hinge guide groove 117 is formed on both the left and the right shells 111 and 112. When installed in the hinge guide grooves 117, the first and the second hook members 221 and 222 can pivot about the hinge projections 223 and are mounted into a hook receiving part 115 formed into the left and the right shells 111 and 112, respectively.

At the upper end of the first and the second hook members 221 and 222, second elastic spring members 225, embodied as coil springs, are mounted in the button seat 118 and below the upper end of the first and second hook members to elastically urge the first and the second hook members 221 and 222 to a locked position.

A protrusion 227 is formed at the lower or bottom end of the first and the second hook members 221 and 222 that engages the latching jaw 231 provided on an auxiliary supporting member 230 that is attached to the supporting member 120, thereby locking the supporting member 120 in its second position in which the supporting member 120 is not in use.

The first and the second hook members 221 and 222 have a pressing projection recess 229 corresponding to the pressing projection 212 and which receives the pressing projection 229. The pressing projection recess 229 enables the pressing projection 212 and the hook member 220 to smoothly move in association with each other in response to the actuation of the button 210.

An auxiliary supporting member 230 is integrally formed with the latching jaw 231 engaged with the protrusion 227 and pivotably connected to the supporting member 120 by a pin 235. A third elastic spring member 237 is disposed on the pin 235, together with the auxiliary supporting member 230. The third elastic spring member 237 is in an initial position where the auxiliary supporting member 230 is unfolded at the maximum degrees. Therefore, when the engagement between the auxiliary supporting member 230 and the hook member 220 is released, the third elastic spring member 237 returns to the initial position by an elastic recovering force.

Hereinafter, the operation of the extension pipe supporting apparatus 100 according to an embodiment of the present invention will be described with reference to the accompanying drawings.

To clean a floor, the user generally grips the operation handle 30 by one hand and the extension pipe 40 by the other hand. During the cleaning work, the user may stop using the vacuum cleaner, for example, to pick up or arrange things on the floor. By use of the extension pipe supporting apparatus 100, the user can keep the extension pipe 40 standing on the floor, as shown in FIG. 5.

When the user presses the supporting member actuating button 210 in the arrowed direction in FIG. 3, the supporting member actuating button 210 depresses the hook member 220. As a result, the hook member 220 pivots around the hinge projections 223 in the arrowed direction of FIG. 3. As a result, the engagement of the latching jaw 231 by the protrusion 227 on the hook members 220 is released, thereby unlocking the supporting member 120 and allowing the supporting member 120 to pivot downwardly, around the hinge projections 121A and 121B in the recesses 113 and 114.

As shown in FIG. 4, the supporting member 120 pivots to the first position in which the supporting member 120 is opened downwardly toward the floor, by a repulsive force of the first elastic spring members 116A and 116B that are received in the hinge recesses 113 and 114 together with the hinge projection 121. The auxiliary supporting member 230 is also opened to its maximum degree by a force of the third elastic spring member 237 connected with the pin 235. Accordingly, the supporting member 120 supports the extension pipe 40 substantially upright with respect to the floor, and the auxiliary supporting member 230 prevents the supporting member 120 from inclining or falling down.

When the user resumes the cleaning work, the supporting member 120 is pivoted upwardly to the second position, thereby being folded to tightly contact with the shell member 110. The first and the second hook members 221 and 222 slide along a surface of the auxiliary supporting member 230 and transversely widen as if the supporting member actuating button 210 is pressed. In an alternate embodiment, the extension pipe supporting member 120 contacts the extension pipe 40. The auxiliary supporting member 230 pivots in contact with the first and the second hook members 221 and 222, so that the latching jaw 231 is engaged with the protrusion 227. Therefore, when the auxiliary supporting member 230 is pivoted to the second position, the latching jaw 231 is engaged with the protrusion 227 formed on the first and the second hook members 221 and 222, thereby locking the supporting member 120 in the second position. Accordingly, the user can resume the cleaning work with the supporting member 120 folded in contact with the extension pipe 40.

As can be appreciated from the above descriptions the user can keep the extension pipe 40 standing on the floor in the middle of the cleaning work and reuse the extension pipe 40 without having to bending over to pick up the extension pipe 40 or the operation handle 30 from the floor.

While the invention has been shown and described with reference to certain embodiments thereof, it will be understood by those skilled in the art that various changes in form and details may be made therein without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention as defined by the appended claims.