Title:
Method for improving brooms
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Increased carpet sweeping effectiveness of a broom is achieved by simple means comprising the application of a heat source or additive means sufficient to form nodules (13) on the ends of the bristles (12) of the broom. The ends of the bristles (12) are the areas of the bristles (12) that make physical contact with surface debris or with the surface being cleaned. The bristles (12) or some part of the bristles (12) can be flagged and a plurality of nodules (13) can be formed on the split sections of the flagged bristles as is shown in FIG. 5B. The nodules (13) increase the surface area of the ends of the broom's bristles (12) and thus increase friction between the ends of the bristles (12) and the surface debris. The nodules (13) also provide the improved broom with an ability to grab, hook or entangle surface debris.



Inventors:
Kubaitis, William James (Champaign, IL, US)
Application Number:
10/876845
Publication Date:
12/29/2005
Filing Date:
06/25/2004
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
15/207.2
International Classes:
A46D1/00; (IPC1-7): A46D1/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20100066154Tuft picking device for a brush making machineMarch, 2010Boucherie
20080196187ORBITAL BRUSH FOR AN ORBITAL FLOOR BRUSH MACHINEAugust, 2008Chavana
20090250993ROTARY CAR WASH BRUSH AND METHOD OF ASSEMBLYOctober, 2009Vivyan et al.
20070136969Hub flange for cast hub brushJune, 2007Mell et al.
20080148640FLEXIBLE BRUSH SEALJune, 2008Marron
20090230756INTERDENTAL CLEANING TOOLSeptember, 2009Crossman
20040187244Twisted tuft end brush and method of makingSeptember, 2004Giertz
20090158540Handle for a Brush, In Particular a ToothbrushJune, 2009Baertschi et al.
20090172901TIRE BROOMJuly, 2009Schwarze
20080116735Brush mounted applicatorMay, 2008Bent
20080224528Method of welding brush filaments to a ferrule and resultant brushSeptember, 2008Wang



Primary Examiner:
SPISICH, MARK
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
William J. Kubaitis (Champaign, IL, US)
Claims:
1. A method for improving the carpet sweeping effectiveness of brooms having plastic bristles, comprising subjecting a plurality of the ends of said bristles to a heat source sufficient to melt said bristles in a manner that forms nodules on a plurality of said ends of said bristles, and said ends of said bristles being the areas of said bristles that, in operation of the broom, make physical contact with the debris being swept, and said ends of said bristles being the areas of said bristles that, in operation the broom, make physical contact with the surface being cleaned.

2. The method of claim 1 wherein said heat source comprises a flame.

3. The method of claim 1 wherein said heat source comprises an oven.

4. The method of claim 1 wherein said heat source comprises microwave radiation.

5. The method of claim 1 wherein said heat source comprises ultrasound radiation.

6. The method of claim 1 wherein said heat source comprises laser radiation.

7. The method of claim 1 wherein said heat source comprises a hot liquid.

8. The method of claim 1 wherein said heat source comprises a hot gas stream.

9. The method of claim 1 wherein said heat source comprises a heated metallic surface.

10. The method of claim 1 wherein said heat source comprises dielectric heating.

11. The method of claim 1 wherein said heat source comprises an electrical currant.

12. A method for improving the carpet sweeping effectiveness of brooms having plastic bristles, said method comprising an additive means admixed with a plurality of said bristles, and said additive reacts with said bristles in a manner that forms nodules on a plurality of said ends of said bristles, and said ends of said bristles being the areas of said bristles that, in operation of the broom, make physical contact with the debris being swept, and said ends of said bristles being the areas of said bristles that, in operation of the broom, make physical contact with the surface being cleaned.

13. The method of claim 12 wherein said additive means comprises a solvent.

14. The method of claim 12 wherein said additive means comprises plastic that is in a heated liquid state.

15. The method of claim 12 wherein said additive means comprises a polymeric material that is in a heated liquid state.

16. The method of claim 12 wherein said additive means comprises a liquid material that is capable of solidification.

17. A method of improving the carpet sweeping effectiveness of brooms having plastic bristles, said method comprising the attachment of nodules to a plurality of the ends of said bristles by a means comprising the use of an industrial adhesive, and said ends of said bristles being the areas of the bristles that, in operation of the broom, make physical contact with the debris being swept, and said ends of said bristles being the areas of the bristles that, in operation of the broom, make physical contact with the surface being cleaned.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

Not Applicable

FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH

Not Applicable

SEQUENCE LISTING

Not Applicable

BACK GROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of Invention

This invention relates to brooms, specifically a method for improving the sweeping effectiveness of brooms on carpeted surfaces.

2. Background of the Invention

Currently there are not many non-electrical brooms available to consumers for carpeted surfaces. Brooms capable of effectively sweeping on carpeted surfaces provide a low-cost alternative to vacuum cleaners and save consumers the time and trouble of getting out a vacuum cleaner for small jobs or for small rooms with limited space.

Many brooms that are capable of sweeping on carpeted surfaces have a push broom-type design and/or have unusual bristles. One such broom is shown in U.S. Pat. No. 6,671,921 to Hickman (2004). Hickman suggests metal bristles for his broom. Another such broom is shown in U.S. Pat. No. 5,966,771 to Stroud (1999). Stroud's invention has unusually shaped bristles. Though Stroud's broom and Hickman's broom have different bristle types, they both have in common a push broom-type design. The bristles of these inventions are not in axial alignment with the handle. In operation one uses a pulling or raking action to remove debris from carpeted surfaces.

There are several problems with carpet brooms that have a push broom-type design. Users of carpet-sweeping push brooms tend to sweep in a slightly bent over position, which stresses the muscles of the lower back. The metallic bristles of Hickman's patent cling excessively to carpeted surfaces, adding to the effort it takes to sweep. Another problem with inventions of this type is that the action of pulling a push broom across a carpet is very restrictive. The elongated push broom head and the angled handle make the task of sweeping around furniture or in small spaces very difficult. Most consumers choose longitudinally designed brooms for in-home use. This is because push broom designs require excessive horizontal space for sweeping and are cumbersome around furniture and in narrow spaces.

Some other carpet brooms with a push broom-type design can be seen in U.S. Pat. No. 4,042,995 to Varon (1977), U.S. Pat. No. 5,072,479 to Van Niekerk (1991) and U.S. Pat. No. 5,930,862 to Garrett (1999).

A method for improving the carpet sweeping effectiveness of longitudinally designed household brooms would provide users with a broom that is less strenuous or cumbersome than push broom-type carpet brooms. This is because standard household brooms have a longitudinal design that requires less room to sweep. Also, as a result of longitudinal designs, users can choose from a variety of different sweeping paths. For example, when a person uses a longitudinally designed household broom to sweep on a wide-open surface that has no obstacles, the broom can be turned so that its sweeping path is wide. When a person uses the same broom in narrow areas, such as between a television and a wall, the broom can be turned sideways so that its sweeping path is narrow. Push broom designs do not have this same ability because of the angled handle. In operation, push brooms are only practical when they are pushed or pulled.

U.S. Pat. No. 4,756,039 to Pardo (1988) shows a broom having a longitudinal design with both flexible and stiff bristles. This broom successfully solves a common problem of brooms having angled bristles. The problem is that the longer bristles of an angled broom have greater flexibility than the shorter bristles, provided that the bristles have uniform stiffness. Pardo insightfully noticed that the greater flexibility of the longer bristles is contrary to the purpose of angled brooms, which are angled for improved effectiveness in corners and narrow spaces.

Pardo's solution combines soft and stiff bristles to make a broom that is more effective for tight spaces and corners while still retaining its sweeping effectiveness for open spaces. On page 3, column 1, lines 33-39 of U.S. Pat. No. 4,756,039, Pardo states “If the bristles are of uniform stiffness and relatively flexible or soft in order to be suitable for flat floor surfaces, the softness inhibits sweeping efficiency in corners and edges. Conversely, if the bristles are of uniform stiffness and relatively inflexible or hard enough to sweep corners and edges well, the broom would be inefficient for flat surfaces.” The second part of this statement identifies the problem that brooms having stiff bristles are less efficient on hard surfaces. Pardo successfully increases the friction between his broom's longer bristles and the surface debris being swept while decreasing the effectiveness of the broom's longer bristles for sweeping fine or light types of debris such as dust. This is achieved by the increased stiffness of the longer bristles, which allows a user to apply more force to the surface that is being swept, consequently giving the user an increased ability to pry debris from corners or tight spaces.

Although Pardo makes no mention of carpeted surfaces in his patent, his patent identifies the common problem of stiff bristles having poor sweeping effectiveness on hard surfaces for light or fine debris such as dust. Carpet brooms with relatively stiff bristles increase friction between the bristles and the surface being cleaned by allowing the user to apply a greater force that is carried through the stiff bristles to the surface and/or the surface debris. Alternatively, the method according to the present invention increases bristle friction by increasing the surface area on the ends of the broom bristles. This is achieved by a means comprising the formation of nodules on the ends of the bristles. This alternative method relieves users of the force that is necessary to generate surface friction when brooms having relatively stiff bristles are used. One variant of the present invention allows the broom's bristles to be relatively flexible. According to the present invention a plurality of the bristles may be left unmodified and intact, allowing the broom to retain its sweeping effectiveness on hard surfaces. Also, contrary to stiff bristled brooms, flexible bristled brooms improved by the method provided by the present invention will have less unnecessary or extraneous friction between the broom bristles and the carpet itself. Stiff bristle brooms grip excessively to carpeted surfaces.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,606,756 to Fernandez (2003) shows a broom that has bristles with variable stiffness. This broom also has a longitudinal design with bristles that are in axial alignment with the broom's handle. Like Pardo's broom, it has a broom head that is narrower and less cumbersome than the elongated push broom heads in the inventions of Stroud and Hickman. The problem with this design is that one has to continually adjust the stiffness of the bristles depending on the type of debris a person is sweeping or the type of surface that is being cleaned. Fernandez's mechanism for increasing bristle stiffness makes the broom more difficult and costly to manufacture than every day household brooms.

Many brooms designed to be effective at sweeping on carpeted surfaces seem to be designed with the idea in mind that the bristles of such a broom need to be stiff. Fernandez says in the “Background of the invention” section of his patent on page 8, column 1, lines 19-25, “It is obvious that for different floor surfaces to be cleaned, cleaning can be more effective when bristles of the right stiffness are used. For instance, brooms with stiffer bristles will be more efficient for the cleaning of carpeted floor while those brooms with softer bristles will be more suitable for the sweeping of a polished floor.” The present invention will show that this is not in fact the case. Brooms with relatively soft or flexible bristles can be quite effective at cleaning a carpeted surface.

The variable that affects a broom's sweeping effectiveness on carpets is not the stiffness of the bristles. It is a matter of friction between the broom's bristles and the debris on the carpeted surface. It is also a matter of the bristles ability to grab, snare or entangle carpet debris. When a sweeping motion is used with stiff bristle brooms, the stiffness of the bristles allows the user to increase friction by applying an increased force that is carried through the stiff bristles to the surface and/or the debris that is being cleaned. The present invention provides a broom with an increased carpet sweeping effectiveness while allowing for the use of relatively soft and/or flexible bristles. The present invention furthermore provides a broom that generates surface friction with the alternative means of forming or adding an increased surface area onto the ends of the broom bristles. The present invention can be applied to brooms having relatively flexible bristles of the same variety found in everyday household brooms. In this variant of the present invention, flexible bristles serve to relieve the broom's user of extraneous or unnecessary friction between the carpet and the broom bristles. I believe that the tendency of flexible bristles to absorb or nullify extraneous bristle-to-carpet friction is due to their ability to bend and release their hold on the carpet as a sweeping motion is performed.

Another type of non-electrical carpet cleaning device uses rollers that cling to debris on carpeted surfaces. A patent for this type of sweeper can be seen in U.S. Pat. No. 5,208,935 to Jailor and Rosendall (1993). Carpet sweepers of this type go back to at least the 1800's and have been very successful as a non-electrical tool for cleaning small and light debris from carpeted surfaces. This type of design comprises roller brushes that are housed in some type of casing. The roller brushes cling to carpet debris and roll the debris into a compartment that can be emptied. The problem with sweepers of this type is that the debris being cleaned has to be small enough to fit under the sweeper. Large pieces of material such as large pieces of glass cannot be cleaned with a roller type sweeper. The same is true for roller sweepers that rely on stickiness or magnets as a method of clinging to debris. Also the brushes of brush roller-type sweepers will not pick up heavy types of carpet debris such as coins. Another brush roller-type sweeper can be seen in U.S. Pat. No. 5,664,276 to Arias (1997.)

It is important to discuss longitudinally designed household brooms having standard plastic bristles as a prior invention that is directly related to the present invention. This is because the present invention provides a method for manufacturing brooms that can be sold and marketed as standard household brooms that have improved sweeping effectiveness on carpets.

Longitudinally designed household brooms predate history and have no inventor except in the case of specific designs such as is shown in U.S. Pat. No. 367,175 to Teufel and Juratovac (1996). An example of a common household broom design comprises a handle, a broom head, and bristles that are attached in some manner to the broom head. The handles of such brooms can be made of wood, metal or plastic. The head of current household brooms often comprises a base and a base cap. The base cap rest on or attaches to the broom base in a manner that gives the broom an aesthetically pleasing appearance. The handle is often threaded through the base cap into a socket on the broom base. There are other designs for household brooms and the means for constructing household brooms may be varied. Most household brooms have a longitudinal design.

Historically the bristles for household brooms were made of natural fiber. Currently most household brooms have bristles that are made of plastic materials such as polypropylene, polystyrene and polyethylene. Plastic bristles last longer than bristles made of natural fibers and are stronger. Often the bristles of this type of broom are flagged. Flagged bristles have been split at the ends to improve the broom's sweeping effectiveness. The end of a flagged bristle is shown in FIG. 5A. The bristles of household brooms are also often cut at an angle, which facilitates easier sweeping access to small spaces or corners.

Every day household brooms with standard plastic bristles can sweep some types of carpet debris with a small degree of effectiveness, but there are significant problems when brooms of this type are used on a carpeted surface. One problem is that of poor adhesion or friction between the bristles and the carpet or between the bristles and the carpet debris. When a standard household broom with relatively flexible plastic bristles is used on a carpeted surface, the bristles will have a very poor clinging ability to the carpet and/or to the carpet debris. This lack of friction between the bristles and the carpeted surface and/or carpet debris causes the problem that, when a sweeping motion is used, the bristles will tend to fling light carpet debris in random directions. This problem makes it very difficult to organize carpet debris into distinct piles.

Another problem relates to heavy types of carpet debris such as coins, glass, or pieces of broken ceramic dishware. Flexible plastic bristles in everyday household brooms will not cling to heavier types of carpet debris due to a lack of friction or gripping ability. This is especially true with coins due to their weight and flat shape. As will be described in the “Objects and Advantages” section below, one of the more dramatic results of the present invention is that the present invention provides standard household brooms with a new ability to sweep coins on a carpeted surface. It is very difficult to sweep coins on a carpeted surface with current standard household brooms. The bristles will tend to pass over the coin. This is true no matter what degree of pressure is applied to the broom The hairbrush and toothbrush industries have long made use of methods of rounding the ends of plastic bristles. Two such methods can be seen in U.S. Pat. No. 6,372,163 to Boucherie (2002) and U.S. Pat. No. 5,007,686 to Klein (1991.) These types of methods are fundamentally different than the method according to the present invention for the following reasons,

Purpose

The purpose of the methods used by the hairbrush and toothbrush industries and described in the patents of Boucherie and Klein is to improve tools that are for use on human beings. The first sentence of the Background of the Invention section of U.S. Pat. No. 6,372,163 to Boucherie (2002) page 5, column 1, line 8-9 states, “Brushes for dental or cosmetical use must have bristles with rounded free ends to avoid injury or harm to the user.” The present invention has the dramatically different purpose of increasing the sweeping effectiveness of brooms on carpeted surfaces.

Cost and Complexity

The methods described in these inventions are more complex and more costly.

This is because the hairbrush and tooth brush industries desire precise methods that can produce round-ended bristles in a manner that the rounded ends are consistent in shape and/or distribution. The present invention does not require this kind of precision because the purpose of method according to present invention is so fundamentally different. In U.S. Pat. No. 5,007,686 to Klein (1991) it states on page 4, column 1, lines 31-35, “One of the problems encountered with rounding off bristles made from thermoplastic material was that the uncontrolled melting of the tip portions often resulted in that the bristles stuck together, particularly when there was a close spacing between the bristles.” Problems such these are not relevant to the method provided by the present invention because the method is applied to bristles that make contact with floor surfaces and not with human beings. Therefore, the aesthetic nature of the nodules described in the present invention need not be controlled by such precise and costly methods. Furthermore, the bristles used by the hairbrush and toothbrush industries serve a fundamentally different purpose than broom bristles.

I believe that the nodules described by the present invention and the rounded-ends provided by the methods used by the hairbrush and toothbrush industries are of a fundamentally different nature. The broom industry has had since the invention of plastic bristles in the 1950's to discover methods of rounding bristle ends for the purpose of improving a brooms carpet-sweeping effectiveness. It is for this reason and the reasons described above that I believe the novelty of the present invention to be unobvious. As evidence of this, I have been able to find no patent or product that applies the above-described methods, used by the hairbrush and toothbrush industries, to brooms for the purpose of increasing a broom's carpet-sweeping effectiveness.

BACKGROUND OF INVENTION—OBJECTS AND ADVANTAGES

Accordingly several objects and advantages of the present invention are:

    • (a) to provide a method of producing an improved broom that can be used to sweep on carpeted surfaces in the same manner that standard house hold brooms are used to sweep on hard surfaces.

(b) to provide a method of producing an improved broom that, unlike current household brooms, can sweep easily and effectively on both hard surfaces and carpeted surfaces.

    • (c) to provide a method of producing an improved broom that can easily and effectively sweep large and small types of debris on a carpeted surface.

(d) to provide a method of producing an improved broom that can easily sweep carpet debris around obstacles such as furniture, in corners, or any place where space is constrained.

(e) to provide a method of producing an improved broom that requires much less effort than current carpet brooms for the task of removing pet hair from carpeted surfaces. The nodules described by the present invention provide the broom's bristles with a dramatic ability to hook, grab, or entangle carpet debris, such as pet hair or human hair. Contrary to stiff bristled brooms, a broom having flexible bristles that has been improved by the method according to the present invention will have less unnecessary or extraneous friction between the bristles of the broom and the carpet itself. Stiff bristle brooms cling excessively to carpeted surfaces, causing the users of such brooms to expend unnecessary effort when sweeping on a carpeted surface.

    • (f) to provide a method of producing a broom that has flexible bristles that grip carpeted surfaces in a gentler manner than current carpet brooms having bristles that are stiff. The present invention allows for the use of flexible bristles that serve to relieve the user of unnecessary or extraneous friction between the bristles of the broom and the carpet itself. Flexible bristles bend and release their grip on the carpeted surface when a sweeping motion is performed. The nodules on the bristles serve to push, grip, or entangle carpet debris when a sweeping motion is performed.
    • (g) to provide a method of producing a broom that can effectively sweep lighter types of carpet debris such as pieces of paper, food debris, lint, and human hair.
    • (h) to provide a method of producing a broom having flexible bristles that can effectively sweep heavy types of carpet debris such as coins, broken ceramic dishware, and glass.

One dramatic result of the present invention is the fact that it provides everyday household brooms with a new ability to sweep coins on carpeted surfaces. I demonstrated this dramatic effect to a close friend of mine on May 24, 2004. We used an everyday household broom with standard plastic bristles that were in axial alignment with the handle. We attempted to sweep debris on a carpeted surface. The types of debris used were coins, potato chips, fish food flakes, cat hair, paper, lint, and broken glass. Then I applied a heat source to the ends of the bristles and melted the tips of the broom's bristles until some quantity of nodules had formed on the ends of the bristles. After melting the tips of the plastic bristles we could feel the improved broom gently gripping the carpet as we swept. The broom had an increased effectiveness for sweeping the debris on the carpeted surface, including a dramatic new ability to sweep coins. In fact, the prototype was able to push coins indefinitely without lifting the broom head from the carpeted surface—that is without performing multiple sweeping motions. I did not have to melt all of the tips of the broom's bristles to achieve the increased sweeping effectiveness on carpeted surfaces. A majority of the bristles were left in tact and did not have nodules on their ends. The improved broom retained its original ability to sweep effectively on hard surfaces.

Further objects and advantages are to provide a method of producing a broom capable of sweeping on carpeted and hard surfaces that is easy and convenient to use. While I make no claim that brooms that are improved by the present method can clean as effectively as electrical vacuum cleaners, the method provides a broom that can be manufactured and sold at the fraction of the cost of vacuum cleaners. The present invention provides an improved broom that can be used in instances where vacuum cleaners would be too cumbersome, inconvenient, or noisy, such as dorm rooms, public areas, restaurants, or bars. The present invention provides an improved broom that can be marketed and sold in stores where vacuum cleaners are not sold.

The present invention provides an improved broom that has the convenience characteristic of being able to be used quickly for small jobs. The present invention provides an improved broom that has a clear competitive advantage over standard household brooms in that, in addition to being able to sweep on hard floors, the improved broom has an increased sweeping effectiveness on carpeted surfaces that is not present in today's standard household brooms.

SUMMARY

The present invention, a method for improving the carpet-sweeping effectiveness of brooms, is achieved by simple means comprising the application of a heat source or additive means sufficient to form a plurality of nodules on a plurality of the bristle ends.

DRAWINGS—FIGURES

In the drawings, closely related figures have the same number but different alphabetic suffixes.

FIG. 1 is an illustrative example of a household broom improved by the method according to the present invention and shows a handle, a head, a plurality of bristles, and a plurality of nodules that are at or near to the ends of the bristles.

FIG. 2 is another illustrative example of a broom improved by the method according to the present invention and shows a front view of a broom's base cap, broom base, bristles, and a plurality of nodules that are at or near to the ends of the bristles.

FIG. 3 is a closer view of the bristles of a broom improved by the method according to the present invention and shows a plurality of the bristles having nodules that are at or near to the ends of the bristles.

FIG. 4A shows a single bristle tip having no nodules at or near to the end of the bristle.

FIG. 4B shows a single bristle tip having a single nodule near to the end of the bristle.

FIG. 4C shows a single bristle tip having a single nodule at the end of the bristle.

FIG. 5A shows a flagged bristle tip having no nodules on its split sections.

FIG. 5B shows a flagged bristle tip having multiple nodules on its split sections.

FIG. 6 is an illustrative example a smooth bottomed nodule shape formed by the application of a sufficient heat source to a plastic bristle or the split section of a flagged plastic bristle.

FIG. 7 is an illustrative example of another nodule shape that has a bottom surface that is divided, rough, cauliflower-like, or lobe-like in shape, and is formed by the application of a sufficient heat source to a plastic bristle or the split section of a flagged plastic bristle.

DRAWINGS—REFERENCE NUMERALS

  • 10 BROOM HANDLE
  • 11 BROOM HEAD
  • 12 BRISTLES
  • 13 NODULES
  • 14 BASE CAP
  • 15 BROOM BASE
  • 16 LOBES
    Detailed Description—FIGS. 1, 2 and 3

FIG. 1 is an illustrative example of a longitudinally designed broom improved by the method according to the present invention. It shows a typical household broom having a handle (10), a head (11) comprising a broom base (15) and a base cap (14), and a plurality of plastic bristles (12) that have had nodules (13) formed on their ends. Preferably, the nodules (13) are formed on the ends of the bristles (12) by a means comprising the application of a heat source sufficient to soften or melt the plastic bristles (12) in a manner that forms the nodules (13). The nodules (13) may also be formed by other means such as dipping the bristles (12) in a heated liquid plastic or polymeric material that when cooled, solidifies and adheres to the bristles (12) in a manner such that nodule-like shapes are produced. The broom's bristles (12) may be of equal length as shown in FIG. 1 or they may be angled as shown in FIG. 2. Angled bristles (12) give longitudinally designed brooms easier sweeping access to tight spaces or corners. It is clear that the type of broom to be modified by the method may be varied, and that the particular mode described and/or illustrated is only by way of example of a broom wherein, according to the method provided by present invention, the bristles (12) have been modified to have nodules (13) on the ends of the bristles (12) so as to effect desired cleaning of carpeted surfaces.

Detailed Description—FIGS. 4A to 5B

FIGS. 4A to 5B are illustrative approximations of different bristle types of a broom improved by the method according to the present invention. FIG. 4A shows a single bristle tip or one single split section of a flagged bristle tip that has no nodules (13). To achieve improved carpet sweeping effectiveness, a plurality of the broom's bristles (12) may be left intact and do not need to be modified to have nodules (13) on the ends of the bristles (12).

The desired increased sweeping effectiveness on carpets can be achieved when only a part of the bristles (12) have been modified to have nodules (13) on the ends of the bristles (12). Thus a broom with increased sweeping effectiveness on carpeted surfaces can still have some quantity of bristles (12) that have not been modified and remain without nodules (13).

FIG. 4B is an illustration of a nodule (13) that is near to the end of a bristle or near to the end of a split section of a flagged bristle. FIG. 4C shows another possible location of a nodule (13) on a single bristle tip or a single split section of a flagged bristle tip. The nodule (13) of FIG. 4C is at the end of the bristle or at the end of a split section of a flagged bristle. One may also form multiple nodules (13) on a single bristle or a single split section of a flagged bristle. FIG. 5A shows a single flagged bristle tip that does not have any nodules (13) on the bristle or on the split sections of a flagged bristle tip. As mentioned earlier one can increase the sweeping effectiveness of a broom by modifying a minority or a majority of the brooms bristles (12) to have nodules (13) on the ends of the bristles (12). FIG. 5B shows the end of a flagged bristle tip that has been modified to have nodules (13) on its split sections.

The quantity of nodules (13) that is desired when one applies the method according to the present invention is largely dependent on the degree of friction and/or gripping ability that is desired. For example, if a broom having bristles (12) with a maximized amount of friction or gripping ability is desired, then the method for improving brooms can be used to modify all or a large majority of the bristles (12) to have nodules (13) on the ends of the bristles (12). This would be useful for production of a broom that is used in extreme circumstances such as the removal of pet hair from carpet. A broom having a lesser quantity of nodules (13) will grip the carpet debris in a gentler manner but will still have an increased sweeping effectiveness on a carpeted surface. A combination of modified and unmodified bristles (12) provides this variant of the present invention with the duel-functionality of being a useful sweeping device for both carpeted and hard surfaces.

It should be noted here that a broom improved by the method according to the present invention will gain a dramatic ability to sweep heavy types of carpet debris such as coins when a surprisingly small minority of the plastic bristles (12) have been modified to have nodules (13) on the ends of the bristles (12).

It should also be noted that the method allows for the use of flexible bristles (12) that serve to relieve the broom's user of unnecessary or extraneous friction between the bristles (12) of the broom and the carpet itself.

Detailed Description FIGS. 6 and 7

FIGS. 6 and 7 show two different possible nodule (13) types that are formed by applying a heat source sufficient to melt a broom's plastic bristles (12). FIG. 6 shows a nodule (13) having a smooth bottom surface. When a sufficient heat source, is applied to the ends of a broom's plastic bristles (12), many of the resulting nodules (13) may have a rounded and smooth bottom surface and will be similar to the nodule (13) shown in FIG. 6.

Also, when a sufficient heat source is applied to the ends of a broom's plastic bristles (12), many of the resulting nodules (13) may have a rough cauliflower-like bottom surface that has multiple lobes (16). This is illustrated in a perspective that is from the side of such a nodule (13) in FIG. 7. These types of rough nodules (13) shown in FIG. 7 may have any number of lobes (16). Some of the resulting nodules (13) in my prototypes had only two lobes (16) where as others had three or more lobes (16.) The lobes (16) had both rough and smooth textures.

The nodules (13) formed by the method are not always in axial alignment with the bristles (12). The nodules (13) are often bent or pointed in a variety of directions. The variety of different nodule (13) shapes and sizes that are formed by applying a heat source sufficient to soften or melt the ends of the plastic bristles (12) is far greater than can be illustrated. Increased carpet-sweeping effectiveness is achieved when the nodules (13) have the following qualities,

    • a. the nodules are larger or denser in some manner than the rest of the bristle or the rest of the split section of the bristle on which they reside.
    • b. the nodules increase the surface area of the ends of the bristles (12), thereby increasing surface friction between the broom's bristle ends and the surface debris.
    • c. the nodules have a hooking, grabbing or snaring ability that is that is due to their shape.

It should be noted here that the illustrations in FIGS. 6 and 7 are merely approximations of two common shapes of nodules (13) that result when a sufficient heat source, in this case a gas burning flame, is applied to the ends of a broom's plastic bristles (12).

It is clear that there are many different types of heat sources that can be used to soften melt or burn the bristles (12) in a manner that forms nodules (13) on the ends of the bristles (12) and that the type of heat source used in the above described method may be varied. The described method of improving the carpet sweeping effectiveness of brooms having plastic bristles (12) requires only that such a heat source be sufficient to soften or melt the plastic bristles (12) in a manner that forms nodules (13) on the ends of the plastic bristles (12). Examples of other types of heat sources that could be used to melt plastic bristles (12) include, ovens, hot gas streams, laser radiation, microwave radiation, ultrasound radiation, dielectric heat sources, electrical currents, boiling liquids, or heated metallic surfaces.

Other means of forming, creating, or adding nodules (13) onto the ends of a broom's bristles (12) may also be used to produce a carpet-sweeping-capable broom. Examples of alternative means that could be used to create, form or add nodules (13) onto the bristle's (12) ends include, dipping the bristles (12) into a heated liquid plastic or polymeric material which solidifies and forms nodules (13) when cooled, an additive means comprising a solvent that is admixed with the bristles (12), attaching nodule-like objects to the ends of the bristles (12) with an industrial adhesive.

The purpose of the method for improving brooms is to provide a simple means of improving already existing brooms in a manner that achieves a similar carpet-sweeping ability to current inventions having unusual bristles or unusual designs. This method is a simpler alternative to current inventions that heretofore known have taken a different design route for achieving their carpet-sweeping effectiveness. Though the formation of nodules (13) by a means comprising the application of a sufficient heat source is the preferred means of creating nodules (13), other means of creating, adding or forming nodules (13) may exist that still achieve the above-described purpose of the present invention. The nodules (13) described by the present invention increase the surface area of the ends of the broom's bristles (12) and provide the bristles (12) with an ability to hook, grab, snare, or entangle carpet debris. The manner and mode of forming or adding nodules (13) to a broom's bristles and for the purpose of increasing the carpet sweeping effectiveness of the broom may be varied. The nodules (13) described by the present invention may be formed or added at any point in the manufacturing process of the broom. Furthermore, the nodules (13) described by the present invention may be formed or added at any point in the manufacturing process of the bristles (12).

Operation

The method according to the present invention provides a broom that can be used in the same manner that an everyday household broom is used on a hard surface. The present invention provides a method for producing brooms that can be used on carpets and hard surfaces. When used on a carpeted surface, a broom improved by the method provides the user with an obvious griping sensation. One can feel the nodules (13) gripping slightly to the carpet as one sweeps. The method can be used to improve the sweeping effectiveness of a broom having flexible bristles (12). Contrary to brooms having stiff bristles, brooms with flexible bristles (12) modified by the method according to the present invention allow a user to perform a sweeping motion on a carpeted surface with a reduced amount of unnecessary or extraneous surface friction between the carpet and the broom's bristles (12). Accordingly, I believe that this decreased effort is due to a tendency of the flexible bristles (12) to bend and release their hold on the carpeted surface as a sweeping motion is used. A broom improved by the method according to the present invention has an increased sweeping effectiveness on carpeted surfaces. I believe that that the increased sweeping effectiveness is due to the nodules (13), which increase surface friction by providing the bristles (12) with an increased surface area on the bristle ends. Furthermore, I believe that, due to the shape of the nodules (13), the bristles (12) of a broom improved by the method are provided with a new ability to grab, snare, or entangle carpet debris. Dramatically, the present invention provides a broom that can push heavy types of carpet debris such as coins indefinitely without lifting the bristles (12) from the carpeted surface or performing multiple sweeping motions. Contrary to current household brooms, a broom improved by the method is provided with an increased effectiveness for sweeping most types of carpet debris into distinct piles.

Advantages

From the description above, a number of advantages of the present invention become evident:

    • 1. The present invention provides an improved broom that requires less effort than current brooms that are designed to sweep on carpeted surfaces. This is because many brooms designed to sweep on carpeted surfaces achieve their carpet sweeping effectiveness by means of stiffer bristles and/or a push broom design. The stiff bristles of these types of carpet brooms give the user the ability to increase surface friction by applying a force that is carried through the stiff bristles to the surface that is being cleaned. My alternative method can be applied to a broom having flexible bristles consequently relieving the user of unnecessary friction between the broom's bristles and the carpeted surface. The method according to the present invention increases bristle surface friction by the alternative means that comprises increasing the surface area of the bristle ends by forming nodules on the bristle ends. Besides increasing friction, the nodules also have the function that, due to their rounded shape, they give the bristles an ability to grab, snare, or entangle carpet debris. When the method is applied to brooms having flexible bristles, unnecessary friction between the bristles and the carpeted surface is absorbed or reduced due to the flexibility of the bristles, which tend to bend and release their hold on the carpeted surface as one sweeps.
    • 2. The nodules described by the present invention provide a hooking or grabbing ability that is due to their shape. Current household brooms lack this ability to entangle, grab or snare carpet debris.
    • 3. The present invention can be applied to brooms that have a longitudinal design, providing a broom that is easier to manipulate than push broom-type carpet brooms. A user of a longitudinally designed broom modified by the method according to the present invention can turn the broom head in multiple positions as the user sweeps. This gives the user the choice of many different types of sweeping paths. Push broom-type designs are effective only when they are pushed or pulled and require excessive horizontal space for sweeping.
    • 4. The present invention of improving the carpet-sweeping effectiveness of brooms can be applied at an extremely low cost, which makes brooms provided by the present invention an effective competitor to current household brooms that do not have an additional carpet sweeping ability.
    • 5. Brooms improved by the method according to the present invention have the multifunctional ability of being a useful tool for both carpeted and hard surfaces. As described earlier as one variant of the present invention, a mixture of modified and unmodified bristles of a broom improved by the described method will provide the broom with an improved sweeping effectiveness on carpeted surfaces while maintaining the broom's sweeping effectiveness for hard surfaces.

Although the description above contains many specificities, these should not be construed as limiting the scope of the invention but as merely providing illustrations of some of the presently preferred applications of the present invention. For example, the bristles of a broom improved by the method may be stiff rather than flexible in cases where dramatically excessive friction is desired. There may also be instances that a push broom-type design is desired. Such embodiments may be desirable in environments where surfaces and/or debris are unusual or extreme such as outdoors or in industrial areas such as machine shops. The present invention could also be used to improve the friction and/or grabbing ability of the bristles of roller brush type sweepers or the bristles of electrical carpet cleaning machines, such as vacuum cleaners.

Thus the scope of the present invention should be determined by the appended claims and their legal equivalents, rather than by the examples given.





 
Previous Patent: Vehicle seat

Next Patent: Wheel traceability system