Title:
Sponge mop head assembly
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A sponge mop head assembly includes a sponge head member having a sponge and rotatably connected to a compression member that includes elongated lateral ribs spaced by channels. The sponge is compressed by the compression member. The channels are connected to exit passages at the sides of the compression member for effective removal of fluid from the sponge.



Inventors:
Libman, Robert J. (Champaign, IL, US)
Application Number:
10/982061
Publication Date:
05/04/2006
Filing Date:
11/04/2004
Assignee:
The Libman Company (Arcola, IL, US)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47L13/146
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
CHIN, RANDALL E
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BANNER & WITCOFF, LTD. (CHICAGO, IL, US)
Claims:
1. A sponge mop head assembly comprising, in combination: a sponge head member having a forward edge and a rear edge; a sponge extending from a bottom face of the sponge head member; a hinge member having an axis of rotation, said hinge member operatively connected to an edge of the sponge head member, said hinge member including an interior face with at least one flow channel extending along the face generally parallel to the axis of rotation; and a compression member operatively connected to the hinge member opposite the sponge head member, the compression member pivotable generally about the axis of rotation of the hinge member and movable between a first position for engaging and compressing the sponge and a second position for exposing the sponge, said compression member including a sponge-engaging compression face, the compression face including a first portion having a plurality of ribs extending outwardly from the compression face generally parallel to the axis of rotation and separated from one another by channels each having a first depth; and a second portion adjacent the hinge member having one or more edge channels of depth less than the first depth, the at least one channel in the face of the hinge member cooperatively working with the one or more edge channels to direct fluid away from the sponge in a direction generally parallel to the axis of rotation of the hinge member, the compression member also including one or more flow passages adjacent an end of at least one of the channels for generally axial flow of fluid from the channel, the one or more flow passages having a height that is less than half the measurement of the first depth of the channels.

2. The mop head assembly of claim 1 wherein the compression member includes a forward edge, a rear edge, a left sidewall, and a right sidewall and the plurality of ribs on the compression face are generally parallel to and disposed between the forward edge and rear edge, the plurality of ribs extending between the left sidewall and the right sidewall of the compression member.

3. The mop head assembly of claim 1 wherein the sponge includes a generally rectangular outer surface and the sponge-engaging compression face is generally congruent in configuration.

4. The mop head assembly of claim 1 wherein the compression member includes a handle gripping mechanism for removably connecting the compression member to a handle extending from the sponge head member.

5. The mop head assembly of claim 1 wherein the sponge head member and compression member comprise molded polymeric materials.

6. The mop head assembly of claim 1 wherein the sponge head member, hinge and compression member comprise an integrally-molded polymeric material.

7. (canceled)

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The embodiments of the present invention relate to a sponge mop construction and, more particularly, a sponge mop head assembly having a sponge mounted thereto.

The use of sponge mops for cleaning floors and similar applications is well known. Multiple designs of sponge mops are available. A common type of sponge mop utilizes a generally parallelepiped sponge mounted on a metal or molded plastic mop head which is, in turn, attached to a mop handle. Various types of squeeze mechanisms may be incorporated with the mop head assembly to wring out fluid, such as water, from the sponge. In some mop designs, the mechanism produces a medial fold in the sponge and presses two halves of the sponge together in order to extract fluid from the sponge. U.S. Pat. No. 4,468,830 illustrates such a squeeze mechanism in which the mop head includes two pivotally joined wing sections having plates that can be pivoted downwardly toward one another to fold the sponge in half and squeeze the portions together against one another. In other mop designs, two plates are rotatably hinged together so that they may sandwich the sponge between them to extract fluid from the sponge. U.S. Pat. No. 4,181,999 illustrates such a squeeze mechanism in which a flat squeeze plate having a sponge connected to the bottom surface thereof can be rotated using a wringer handle into contact with a base plate such that the sponge is squeezed between the plates. U.S. Pat. No. D401,702 illustrates another such mop having a squeeze plate and a base plate for squeezing the sponge therebetween.

Although such sponge mop head assemblies have been extremely useful and well accepted by consumers, improvements of such assemblies are often desired. There remains a need for improved features directed to the functionality of the squeezing of the sponge mop which is attached to the mop head assembly to provide more complete removal of fluid from the sponge, as well as to limit exposure of the user to the extracted fluid. There also remains a need for a more lightweight and easily-operable squeezing mechanism to wring out the sponge. These and other functional requirements have led to the developments of the present invention.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Briefly, the various embodiments of the present invention relate to a sponge mop head assembly which is comprised of a sponge head member to which a sponge may be mounted. A sponge compression member is rotatably attached to the sponge head member, such as by a generally integral hinge member. The sponge compression member includes a compression face which includes a series of generally parallel ribs that provide flow channels across the compression face. Flow passages are positioned on the lateral sides of the compression member at the ends of the flow channels.

When the compression member is pivoted from a storage position to an extraction position in which it engages the sponge, fluid is squeezed from the sponge by the ribs. The expelled fluid flows along the channels and exits the compression member from the flow passages. The efficiency and ease of wringing out the sponge and removing fluid is thereby enhanced. That is, the ribs of the compression member may be pressed against the sponge on the sponge head member and fluid within the sponge may be efficiently and effectively extracted and guided from the sponge mop head through flow passages associated with the channels of the compression member.

The sponge mop head assembly may include a sponge head member and a rotatably connected sponge compression member that may be manufactured, for example, from molded plastic materials. The sponge mop head assembly is lightweight, rugged and easy to use to effectively and efficiently remove fluids from a saturated sponge.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

In the detailed description which follows, reference will be made to the drawings comprised of the following figures:

FIG. 1 is an isometric view of a sponge mop head assembly in accordance with an embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 2 is a top plan view of the sponge mop head assembly of FIG. 1 with the handle of the sponge mop removed to reveal the construction of the sponge mop head assembly;

FIG. 3 is a side elevation of the sponge mop head assembly of FIG. 1;

FIG. 4 is a side perspective view of the sponge mop head assembly of FIG. 1 with the sponge compression member in a compression position to illustrate wringing of the sponge;

FIG. 5 is a bottom or underside elevation of the sponge mop head assembly of FIG. 1;

FIG. 6 is perspective view of the sponge mop head assembly FIG. 1 with the compression member moved to a compression position to illustrate the operation of wringing of the sponge; and

FIG. 7 is a cross-sectional view of a portion of the sponge mop head assembly of FIG. 5 taken along the line 7-7.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Referring to FIGS. 1-3, the sponge mop of the invention includes a sponge head member 10. The sponge head member 10 is rotatably connected to a squeeze compression member 14. Preferably, the sponge head member 10 is connected by a flexible or integral hinge, such as hinge 12, to the compression member 14. An elongated handle 16 is attached to the sponge head member 10. A sponge 18 is mounted on the sponge head member 10.

The sponge head member 10 includes a recessed, generally cylindrical passage 20 in its top side for receipt of the handle 16. Further, the sponge head member 10 includes a sponge mounting face 22 on its underside to which a generally parallelepiped sponge 18 is attached by a sponge attachment mechanism. Various types of sponge attachment mechanisms may be utilized for attachment of the sponge 18 and the particular attachment mechanism is not intended to be a limiting feature of the invention. Preferably, such sponge attachment mechanisms enable removal and replacement of sponge 18. For example, the sponge 18 may be affixed to the sponge mounting face 22 by means of fasteners 24 attached to the sponge head 10 with heads thereon that removably engage with slots on the upper face of the sponge 18.

The sponge head member 10 and squeeze compression member 14, in preferred embodiments, are generally rectangular in configuration. The sponge head member 10 typically includes a front or forward side or edge 30 and a back or rear side or edge 32. The front side 30 and back side 32 are generally parallel to one another. Compression member 14, which is also referred to as a squeeze plate, includes a forward wall 36 and a rear wall 38. The compression member 14 also includes a first lateral side wall 40 and a second lateral side wall 42. The side walls 40 and 42 are generally parallel to one another and at opposite ends of a compression face 44, which is generally rectangular in shape and similarly sized with the sponge 18 and the sponge mounting face 22 of the sponge head member 10.

The hinge 12 preferably is integrally molded with and attached to the back side 32 of the sponge head member 10. Compression member 14 is also integrally molded and operatively connected to the hinge 12 opposite the sponge head member 10. Compression member 14 is thus rotatably connected to sponge head member 10 and pivots about an axis of rotation generally along the hinge 12. If the hinge 12 is generally rigid, compression member 14 may rotate about an axis along the intersection of hinge 12 and compression member 14 and sponge head member 10 may rotate about an axis along the intersection of hinge 12 and sponge head member 10. In other embodiments, hinge 12 may have a generally flexible construction or be formed of a flexible material.

The compression member 14 further includes a handle projecting upwardly, namely, handle 46, which may be manually gripped to pivot the compression member 14 about the hinge 12 for engagement of the compression face 44 with the sponge 18. Preferably, the handle 46 includes generally parallel, spaced wing members 50 and 52 that are positioned and spaced apart so as to frictionally engage the handle 16 to retain the compression member 14 in a position generally depicted in FIG. 1 until it is desired to wring out the sponge 18. The compression member 14 then is disengaged from the mop handle 16 by manual gripping of the handle 46.

Referring to FIGS. 5 and 7, the compression member 14 includes a compression face 44. The compression face 44 includes a plurality of transverse parallel ribs, such as exemplified by ribs 60, 62, 64, 66 and 68, that define channels, such as exemplified by channels 70, 72 and 74, therebetween. In preferred embodiments, the ribs 60, 62, 64, 66 and 68 extend the entire distance between the first and second lateral side walls 40 and 42 and are co-planar. The channels preferably extend into the body of the compression member 14 to provide for passage of expelled fluid from the sponge 18 through the channels. By way of example, in one embodiment, the channels may be about 0.25 inches wide and may extend at least about 0.5 inches into the compression face 44. The lateral side walls 40, 42 include side or exit flow passages, as exemplified by flow passages 80, 82 and 84 in FIG. 7. Similarly, the hinge 12 may include one or more open channels, such as channels 90 and 92, at the inner side or face 96.

The sponge head member 10 and squeeze compression member 14 preferably are fabricated from any suitable rigid polymeric material, such as polypropylene, or other suitable rigid and durable material. The hinge 12 also may be fabricated from any suitable rigid or flexible material, including a polymeric material such as polypropylene. The entire sponge mop head assembly may be fabricated in a single molding operation as a unitary device or apparatus attachable to the handle 16 and adapted for receipt of a separate sponge 18.

Referring also to FIGS. 4 and 6, to extract or expel fluid from the sponge 18, a user rotates the compression member 14 to the sponge squeezing position, such as by gripping handle 16. The compression member 14 may be pivoted about an axis associated with the hinge 12 to engage the sponge 18 and squeeze the sponge 18 between the compression member 14 and sponge head member 10. The operation of squeezing the sponge 18 extracts fluid, such as water and detergent, from the sponge 18. Fluid flows into the channels 70, 72 and 74 and from the compression member 14 through the flow passages 80, 82 and 84 associated therewith. The ribs 60, 62 and 64 effect the squeezing action to extract fluid from the sponge 18.

The ribs 60, 62 and 64 also guide the extracted fluid into the flow channels 70, 72 and 74 and toward the flow passages 80, 82 and 84 to facilitate removal of fluid from one or both ends of the compression member 14 rather than from around all sides of the compression member 14. In this manner, more directed and effective removal of fluid from the sponge 18 is provided. The combination of ribs, channels and flow passages in the compression face as well as in the hinge 12 effect such directed fluid removal to limit contact by the user with the fluid. For example, when a user holds the sponge mop in a generally vertical position (FIG. 6), extracted fluid is more likely to flow from the flow passages on the lateral side that is facing downwardly, so that the fluid flows away from the user's hands.

Although preferred embodiments of the invention have been disclosed wherein the ribs 60, 62, 64 and 68 are straight and extend entirely between the lateral side walls 40 and 42, various other combinations of transverse ribs, channels and lateral exit flow passages may be used in the compression face 44 of the compression member 14. For example, the transverse ribs may be angled or curved. They also may extend outwardly from the plane of the compression face 44. Preferably, the combination of channels and flow passages should provide for flow substantially from one or both of the lateral sides of the sponge mop head assembly. When fluid is squeezed from a sponge 18 and the sponge is held over a bucket or drain, for example, fluid will more readily flow from the side of the sponge mop head assembly into the drain, bucket or the like. Although the sponge mop head assembly has also been described as an integrally molded assembly, the parts may be operatively connected and molded or otherwise formed from plastic or other materials. Thus, while there has been set forth preferred embodiments of the invention, it is to be understood that the invention is limited only by the following claims and equivalents thereof.