Title:
Dustpan with miniature on-board vacuum
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A dustpan commonly used for removal of loose dirt, sand, sawdust, etc with a small vacuum built into the handle or dustpan housing and a hose or conduit running from the vacuum to the lip of the dustpan. When sweeping dirt with a hand broom and ordinary dustpan, generally there is a small amount of dirt that cannot be swept into the pan. It typically gets pushed around and dissipates, or requires the use of a separate vacuum device to remove it.



Inventors:
Consilvio, Alexander A. (New York, NY, US)
Application Number:
10/911267
Publication Date:
02/09/2006
Filing Date:
08/04/2004
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47L5/24
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
CHIN, RANDALL E
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
ALEXANDER A. CONSILVIO (NEW YORK, NY, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. A vacuum dustpan apparatus for collecting dirt from a surface comprising: a dustpan housing having a floor with a substantially open bottom edge, a top wall section along its top edge, and at least one side wall section extending along one side edge of said floor from said top wall section toward said open bottom edge; a vacuum means mounted to said dustpan housing; a power means mounted to said dustpan housing for operating said vacuum means; a vacuum intake located at said bottom edge; a vacuum conduit leading from said vacuum intake to said vacuum means; means for selectively activating said vacuum means by said power means so that dirt may be drawn from a surface through said vacuum intake and said vacuum conduit to a dirt collection compartment mounted to said dustpan housing.

2. The apparatus according to claim 1 wherein: said dustpan housing is formed with a first and a second side wall creating a bowl with an open face at said bottom edge.

3. The apparatus according to claim 1 wherein: said power means comprises at least one battery.

4. The apparatus according to claim 1 wherein: said power means comprises a solar power cell.

5. The apparatus according to claim 1 wherein: said vacuum conduit is comprised of a PVC tube.

6. The apparatus according to claim 1 wherein: said vacuum means is detachably mounted to said dustpan housing.

7. The apparatus according to claim 1 wherein: said power means is detachably mounted to said dustpan housing.

8. The apparatus according to claim 1 wherein: said dirt collection compartment comprises a bag detachably mounted to said dustpan housing.

9. The apparatus according to claim 1 wherein: said dirt collection compartment comprises the section of said floor of said dustpan housing near said top wall.

10. The apparatus according to claim 1 further comprising: an intermediate wall extending along said floor from said top edge toward said bottom edge and dividing said floor into two sections.

11. The apparatus according to claim 10 wherein: one of said two sections comprises said dirt collection compartment for said vacuum means.

12. The apparatus according to claim 11 wherein: said dirt collection compartment is formed as a closed box with an openable door for removing dirt collected therein through said vacuum means.

13. The apparatus of claim 1 further comprising: a handle attached to said dustpan housing at said top edge.

14. A vacuum dustpan apparatus for collecting dirt from a surface comprising: a dustpan housing having a floor with a substantially open bottom edge, a top wall section along its top edge, and at least one side wall section extending along one side edge of said floor from said top wall section toward said open bottom edge; a vacuum means mounted to said dustpan housing; a power means mounted to said dustpan housing for operating said vacuum means; a vacuum intake located at said bottom edge; a vacuum conduit moldably formed in said dustpan housing leading from said vacuum intake to said vacuum means; means for selectively activating said vacuum means by said power means so that dirt may be drawn from a surface through said vacuum intake and said vacuum conduit to a dirt collection compartment mounted to said dustpan housing.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The invention relates to handheld dustpans and more particularly to a handheld dustpan with a small vacuum built or attached thereto, with a hose or conduit running from the vacuum to the lip of the dustpan, to allow the user to sweep dirt into the pan and then vacuum collect any small amount of dirt remaining.

2. Description of Prior Art

It has long been common practice to use a handheld dustpan and small hand broom to collect dirt, dust, sand, etc which has been swept into a pile on smooth surface floors. The dirt is then carried in the pan, which has raised side walls to prevent dirt from falling out, to a receptacle and deposited there. Such dustpans are commonly made of sheet metal or plastic, and may be of varying size.

Typically, when the user has swept the bulk of the dirt into the dustpan, there is a small amount of fine dirt remaining under the front edge of the dustpan. Multiple attempts to sweep this dirt into the dustpan can be fruitless, as the dirt is too fine to be effectively swept into the dustpan.

There are few options available to the user to resolve this. One option is to use a vacuum, either upright or handheld, to remove the remaining dirt. While effective at removing dirt, this option is time consuming, as it requires the user to empty the dustpan into a receptacle, replace the dustpan in its normal storage area, retrieve a vacuum from its storage area, plug in the vacuum (if it is not battery powered), suck in the dirt, and proceed to unplug and replace the vacuum. In addition to being time consuming, the air currents generated by the user walking around the remaining dirt will most likely cause it to dissipate, making removal more difficult. If there are several rooms to be swept, carrying an upright vacuum from room to room can cause stress on the arms and back, and may be difficult for elderly or physically challenged users.

Another option is to use a wet cloth or paper towel to clean up the dirt. This option is also time-consuming as it requires the user to retrieve a paper towel, go to a water source, and return to the dirt. The water from the paper towel may not only be damaging to the floor, as in the case of hard wood floors, it may also be extremely messy as the water mixes with the fine dirt remaining.

The final option is to simply sweep the dirt under a rug or piece of furniture, though this option is obviously unsanitary.

All of these options leave significant room for improvement by adding a small vacuum to a standard dustpan.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The above problem is solved by adding a small, self-powered vacuum to a standard dustpan, including a conduit through which the fine dirt is collected. The user sweeps the dirt into the dustpan in the normal manner, typically with a hand broom, and then needs only to depress a button on the vacuum to start the suction and collect the small amount of fine dirt remaining. The fine dirt is collected in a container attached to the vacuum for that purpose, and which is emptied when the user empties the dustpan into a receptacle.

Further detail is provided in the Description of the Preferred Embodiment section.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1: This is a Plan View of the preferred embodiment.

FIG. 2: This is a Section View of the preferred embodiment.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION AND PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

The vacuum 3 is preferably of a type used in cleaning computer keyboards, is self contained and preferably is powered by two AA batteries 12, which are inserted into the rear of the vacuum 3. Those skilled in the art will recognize that any small vacuum of a size attachable to a dustpan can be used, and that such a vacuum can use any known battery size or be solar or otherwise self-powered such that it does not need to be plugged into a building power source. Upon sweeping the dirt into the pan 1, the user depresses an activator, such as a button or switch 4 to activate the vacuum 3. The intake 10 is located at the end of a conduit 8, such as a PVC hose. The conduit 8, of course, may be a molded integral part of the dustpan 1, leading for example from the lip of the dustpan 11 where dirt is collected to the vacuum device. In the preferred embodiment, the conduit is secured to the dustpan by means of a plastic zip tie 9. The vacuum 3 is of sufficient strength to pull in dirt, dust, sand, sawdust, kitty litter, etc. The user activates the vacuum 3, using the on/off button 4, and in the preferred embodiment, moves the device along from right to left (or vice-versa) to collect the remaining dirt. The nozzle 10 of the hose 8 can be configured in a variety of ways, as can the orientation of the hose 8. In other embodiments, several conduits, or one or more conduits with elongated intake opening(s), can be utilized.

The dirt or debris is drawn in by means of the vacuum intake 6, and collected in a collection unit 5 attached to the vacuum 3. In the preferred embodiment, the collection unit 5 is located on the left side, which is easily removed for emptying. The collection unit 5 (hereafter known as “bag,” though it can be made of hard plastic, rubber or other suitable materials) is of sufficient size that it does not need to be emptied after each use, though it is recommended, as that will increase performance of the vacuum 3. In an alternative embodiment, the dirt collection portion of the dustpan 1, or another integral section of the dustpan 1, serves as the collection unit 5, with the vacuum output directed to a surface that deflects the fine dirt into the collection portion or integral section of the dustpan. For example, a portion of the dustpan 1 could be cordoned off and equipped with a spring loaded or other type of door such that the dirt is collected there and emptied when the user dumps the dirt into a receptacle. It may also be possible, in an alternative embodiment, to arrange the vacuum 3 and conduit 8 such that the dirt is deposited directly into the dustpan 1, though this raises the possibility that the dirt may be blown out of the dustpan 1 in this embodiment.

In the preferred embodiment, the vacuum 3 is secured in the handle of the pan 2, which has a depression of suitable size, such that the vacuum 3 fits snugly in it. The vacuum 3 is secured to the handle 2 by any securing mechanism, as in the preferred embodiment where it is secured by means of a Velcro strip 7, which wraps around the handle 2. Those skilled in the art will recognize that the vacuum 3 can be located virtually anywhere on the dustpan 1 and suitable conduit 8 provided therefore for picking up the dust and debris.

In the preferred embodiment, the vacuum 3 may be removed for use in other jobs, such as cleaning a keyboard, and the device may include accessories for the vacuum, such as a brush and additional nozzles. It is also recommended that the vacuum 3 be removed to change the batteries 12. In an alternative embodiment, the vacuum 3 is not removable or easily removable from the dustpan 1 and battery changes, collection unit removal and the like can be performed without removal of the vacuum 3.

In the preferred embodiment, when placed on a flat surface, the device is kept from tipping backward by means of a small, rectangular piece of plastic 13, attached to the back of the dustpan 1 and flush with the bottom of the device. This protrusion 13 can easily be incorporated as part of the dustpan 1 during the manufacturing process.

The dustpan 1, hose 8, and vacuum 3 can be varied in size, as long as the various components fit together in a way that makes the device both useful and comfortable for the owner. A lightweight aluminum dustpan may be substituted for plastic, though the latter is generally more widely available. Likewise a rubber hose may be substituted for PVC, though the latter, being transparent, is better suited to revealing any clogs or kinks in the hose.