Title:
Lighted cleaning implement
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An implement, such as, for example, a broom or mop for cleaning, includes a handle and a cleaning feature connected to the handle. The implement also includes a light connected to the implement, a power source of the implement connected to the light, and a switch of the implement for turning on and off the power source for illuminating the light. The power source is, for example, a battery. The power source, switch and light are electrically connected internally within the implement, and the switch is exposed for manual switching and the light is exposed for illuminating an area serviced by the implement. Alternately, the switch is automatically triggered by a servicing occurrence.



Inventors:
Jones, Terry G. (Austin, TX, US)
Crowley, Timothy J. (Marfa, TX, US)
Crowley, Lynn (Marfa, TX, US)
Application Number:
11/088294
Publication Date:
09/28/2006
Filing Date:
03/24/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47L9/30
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
TON, ANABEL
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
H. DALE LANGLEY, JR. (AUSTIN, TX, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A system for cleaning, comprising: a cleaning element; and a light connected to the cleaning element.

2. The system of claim 1, wherein the cleaning element is selected from the group consisting of: broom, mop, duster, cloth, bristle, painter, roller and combination.

3. The system of claim 2, further comprising: a second light connected to the cleaning element.

4. The system of claim 3, further comprising a plurality of lights.

5. The system of claim 1, further comprising a switch connected to the light for turning the light on and off.

6. The system of claim 5, wherein the switch is a two-position switch.

7. The system of claim 4, further comprising a switch positional in more than two positions for selectively turning on and off select ones of the plurality of lights.

8. The system of claim 5, further comprising: a power source, electrically connected to the switch and the light.

9. The system of claim 8, wherein the power source is connected to and retained internally within the system.

10. The system of claim 9, wherein the power source is externally connected to the system to power the system.

11. The system of claim 8, wherein the power source is selected from the group consisting of: battery and rechargeable battery.

12. The system of claim 9, further comprising a cord and plug for plugging into an electrical power source.

13. A broom having a handle and bristles connected to the head, comprising: a light in the handle; a power source connected to the light; and a switch for turning on and off the power source.

14. The broom of claim 13, further comprising a plurality of lights, each connected to the power source and the switch.

15. The broom of claim 14, wherein the switch is a two-position switch.

16. The broom of claim 14, wherein the switch is positional in more than two positions and selectively turns on and off the power source to select ones of the plurality of lights.

17. A mop having a handle and a mop head connected to the handle, comprising: a light in the handle; a power source connected to the light; and a switch for turning on and off the power source.

18. An implement comprising a handle and a cleaning feature connected to the handle, comprising: a light connected to the implement.

19. The implement of claim 18, wherein the light is connected to the handle.

20. The implement of claim 18, further comprising: a shroud connected to the handle and connected to the cleaning feature; a switch connected to the handle; wherein the light is attached to the shroud.

21. The implement of claim 18, further comprising: a shroud connected to the handle and connected to the cleaning feature; a switch connected to the shroud; wherein the light is connected to the shroud.

22. The implement of claim 18, wherein the light is connected to the cleaning feature.

23. The implement of claim 18, further comprising: a switch connected to the implement; wherein the switch is triggered by the cleaning element.

24. The implement of claim 23, further comprising: a more than two position switch; a plurality of lights; wherein the more than two position switch turns on and off select ones of the plurality of lights.

25. A method of using an implement, comprising the steps of: connecting a light to the implement.

26. The method of claim 25, wherein the method further comprises the steps of: connecting a power supply to the light; and switching the power supply.

27. The method of claim 26, further comprising the step of: connecting a plurality of lights to the implement; wherein the step of switching selectively powers the plurality.

28. A method of using an implement, comprising the step of: illuminating by the implement.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The present invention generally relates to cleaning implements, such as brooms, mops, whisk brooms, coating applicators, and dusters, and, more particularly, relates to illuminating features incorporated in such implements.

Brooms, mops, dusters, whisk brooms, and the like are conventionally quite standard, basic, and featureless. Improvements to these conventional implements have typically been limited to varied materials, for example, natural straw bristles, cotton or similar materials as mop heads, and wood handles have been replaced with plastics or other synthetics in certain instances. Notwithstanding these limited improvements, the conventional designs for these implements have remained generally unchanged for many years.

A reason that these conventional designs have remained unchanged is that consumers desire these implements to be fairly inexpensive and primarily functional. In order to limit costs, manufacturers have maintained basic designs, without any significant improvements or new features. Presently, costs for simple electronics have dropped substantially, and requirements to power such electronics have been vastly reduced and miniaturized. For instance, light bulbs, batteries, and circuits have become quite inexpensive to make and maintain. Also, power consumption required for bulbs and circuits, particularly with newer light emitting diodes (LEDs) and similar low-energy lighting components, has been reduced.

It would, therefore, be a significant improvement in the art and technology to improve cleaning implements, such as brooms, mops, dusters, paint or coating applicators, whisk brooms, and similar devices, to provide lights or illumination sources to the devices. The lights can illuminate an area for service, such as a corner, under a bed, inside cabinets, in car or transportation cabins or compartments, and otherwise. The present invention provides numerous advantages and improvements, including improvements and nuances in the foregoing respects.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

An embodiment of the invention is a system for cleaning. The system includes a cleaning element and light connected to the cleaning element.

Another embodiment of the invention is a broom having a handle and bristles connected to the head. The broom includes a light in the handle, a power source connected to the light, and a switch for turning on and off the power source.

Yet another embodiment of the invention is a mop having a handle and a mop head connected to the handle. The mop includes a light in the handle, a power source connected to the light, and a switch for turning on and off the power source.

Another embodiment of the invention is an implement comprising a handle and a cleaning feature connected to the handle. A light is connected to the implement.

Yet another embodiment of the invention is a method of using an implement. The method includes connecting a light to the implement.

Another embodiment of the invention is a method of using an implement. The method includes illuminating by the implement.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The present invention is illustrated by way of example and not limitation in the accompanying figures, in which like references indicate similar elements, and in which:

FIG. 1 illustrates a side perspective view of a system for cleaning, incorporating a light, according to certain embodiments of the invention;

FIG. 2 illustrates an alternate side perspective view of a system for cleaning, such as that of FIG. 1, incorporating another light, and showing, according to certain embodiments of the invention;

FIG. 2B illustrates a circuit for powering and switching “on” and “off” a light, for example, the lights of the systems of the other Figures herein, according to certain embodiments of the invention

FIG. 3 illustrates a side perspective view of a system for cleaning, incorporating a plurality of lights on the side, according to certain embodiments of the invention;

FIG. 4 illustrates an alternative side perspective view of a system for cleaning, such as that of FIG. 1, incorporating another plurality of lights, according to certain embodiments of the invention;

FIG. 5 illustrates a side perspective view of an alternative system for cleaning, incorporating a light, according to certain embodiments of the invention;

FIG. 6 illustrates a side perspective view of another alternative system for cleaning, incorporating a plurality of lights, according to certain embodiments of the invention;

FIG. 7 illustrates a side perspective view of yet another system for cleaning, incorporating a light and variable positioning of a switch for operating the light, according to certain embodiments of the invention;

FIG. 8 illustrates a side perspective view of an alternative system for cleaning, such as that of FIG. 7, incorporating a plurality of lights, according to certain embodiments of the invention;

FIG. 9 illustrates a side perspective view of a system for cleaning, incorporating a light, according to certain embodiments of the invention; and

FIG. 10 illustrates another side perspective view of system for cleaning, such as that of FIG. 9, incorporating another light, according to certain embodiments of the invention;

FIG. 11 illustrates a side perspective view of an alternative system for cleaning, incorporating a light, according to certain embodiments of the invention;

FIG. 12A illustrates a side perspective view of a system for cleaning, incorporating a light in “off” mode and an alternative switch from that of other embodiments and Figures, according to certain embodiments of the invention;

FIG. 12B illustrates the system for cleaning of FIG. 12B, incorporating the light in “on” mode and showing activation of the alternative switch by an event, such as movement of the system on a surface, according to certain embodiments of the invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Referring to FIG. 1, a cleaning implement 100 comprises a cleaning head 102 connected to a handle 104. The head 102 comprises a shroud 106 connected to an element 108 for cleaning, for example, broom bristles, mop strings, or duster cloth, or the like. The handle 104 comprises an extension 110 for a human user's manual hand gripping. The extension 110 connects to the shroud 106. The implement 100 incorporates therein and connected therewith a light 112. A switch 114 is connected to and incorporated with the implement 100, such as in the handle 104 or in the head 102. The switch 114 is electrically connected to the light 112 via a powered circuit 120 (shown in phantom in FIG. 1) supplied by a battery 122 (shown in phantom) or other power source for powering the light 102.

In certain embodiments, the shroud 106 is a hood or clamp for retaining the element 108, and is comprised of plastic, wood, metal, or other substantially rigid material(s). The shroud 106 is formed with an opening from within the shroud 106 to outside the shroud 106, to accommodate and retain the light 112 pointing in a direction sufficient to illuminate an area of a surface to be cleaned (to be understood as located beyond the latter end of the implement 100 towards the bottom of FIG. 1). The light 112 is either rigidly retained in the shroud 106 in the applicable pointing direction; or, alternatively, a fixture of the light 112 retained in the shroud 106 allows manual pointing of the light 112 as the application requires.

The element 108 is a plurality of broom bristles, mop strings, or dust cloths, comprised of natural or synthetic materials, retained by the shroud 106 to expose the element 108 to the surface to be cleaned. The handle 104 is a metal or plastic cylinder or other hand grip suitable for handling by the human user via the user's hand(s), and can include ergonomic or usability features, such as an end cap 118 to prevent scratching and other features. The end cap 118 also serves to retain a battery 120 (shown in phantom) for powering the light 112. The end cap 118 is internally threaded to mate with an outward thread of an upper end (in FIG. 1) of the extension 110.

Within the cylinder of the handle 104 and extending through the handle 104 to within the shroud 106, an electrical connector or other power conducting wire or cable interconnects the switch 114, the battery 122, and the light 112, and completes the circuit back to the switch 114. The light 110 is one or more of a filament bulb, light emitting diode (LED), or other illuminator(s). Additionally, the implement 100 can include, incorporated and connected therewith, an external power source (not shown in FIG. 1) for powering the light, if and as required or applicable. The light 112 is, alternately, a fluorescent or other radiating element and does not require any added power source. The power source, where present, is one or more of a DC battery, solar battery, or other source of power sufficient for powering the light 112. In the case of an external power source, a cord to from electrical outlet or other power supply connects to the implement 100 and the implement includes other electrical components for utilizing such power supply.

In operation, a human user handles the implement 100 to perform cleaning by directing the element 108 of the head 102 at or across a surface for cleaning, for example, by gripping the extension 110 and moving the implement 100 to cause the element 108 to pass on the surface (e.g., a floor, wall, etc.) to be cleaned. The light 112 of the implement 100 is selectively switched “on” to illuminate and “off” not to illuminate, by the switch 114. The light 112 is, for example, switched on by the switch 114 when cleaning is performed in a location of low light. The light 112, when switched on, illuminates an area including a portion of the surface being cleaned via the implement 100.

Referring to FIG. 2, an implement 200, similar to that of FIG. 1, also includes a second light 102b connected to and incorporated in the implement 100 on another side of the implement 100. For example, a broom or mop typically has two or more cleaning approaches that allow back-and-forth (or other directional) swiping movements in cleaning operations. The second light 112b provides illumination of an oppositely (or other directionally) disposed area of the portion of the surface being cleaned. Thus, the implement 200, including the light 112b and the light 112, illuminates areas of the surface to be cleaned on each side of the implement 200.

Referring to FIG. 2B, in conjunction with FIGS. 1 and 2, a circuit 250 (such as the powered circuit 120 of FIGS. 1 and 2) for powering the light 112 of the implement 100, and the light 112 and light 112b of the implement 200, is disposed within the implement 100, 200, respectively. The circuit 250 comprises the switch 114 electrically connected to the light 112 of the implement 100 of FIG. 1. The switch 252 is also electrically connected, either in parallel or series as appropriate, to any other light, such as each of the lights 112 and 112b of the implement 200 of FIG. 2. The light 112 (or lights 112, 112b, where more than one) is electrically connected to a power source 254, for example, the battery 122 of FIGS. 1 and 2. The power source 254 is retained within the extension 110 or shroud 106 of the implement 100, 200, or is otherwise connected thereto. As previously described, the power source 254 is the battery 122 or other DC source.

Alternately, an AC power source can provide power to the light(s); however, additional appropriate electrical components (for example, appropriate ground, transformer, etc.) are included in the implement 100, 200 or external thereto. In other embodiments, the power source 254 is a rechargeable power source, such as a rechargeable battery; and suitable electrical components, such as an electrical cord connector and a recharging unit, are incorporated with and connected to the implement (or are available external to the implement and are connectable thereto), as desired for the design.

Referring to FIG. 3, an implement 300 includes more than one light 312 (e.g., three lights shown as example in FIG. 3) on a side of the implement 300. The implement 300 is substantially like the implements 100, 200 of FIGS. 1 and 2; however, the powered circuit (not shown in detail) connects the more than one light 312 and the switch 114 powers on and off all or certain of the lights. The more than one light 312 are directed as desired to illuminate a surface to be cleaned.

Referring to FIG. 4, an implement 400, for example, an opposing side of a device like that of FIG. 1, also includes more than one light 312b (e.g., three lights shown as example in FIG. 3) on another side of the implement 400. The powered circuit (not shown in detail) connects the more than one light 312 and the more than one light 312b on the opposing side of the implement 400, and the switch 114 powers on and off all or certain of the lights. The more than one light 312b are also directed as desired to illuminate a surface to be cleaned, such as is applicable for back-and-forth cleaning movements. Although a two-position switch is described as the switch 114 in connection with implements of certain Figures herein, in the case of implements with more than one light, it is to be understood that the switch could include multiple alternatives of “on” and “off” as to lights on a side or sides of the implements and/or as to specific lights of the implements. Those skilled in the art will know and understand that the powered circuit, as well as the power supply and features of the circuit, must be configured and arranged and include appropriate components for each desired configuration and operation.

Referring to FIG. 5, another implement 500 also includes an extension 510 connected to a shroud 506. The shroud 506 connects to a cleaning element 508, such as broom bristles. The extension 510 includes a connected switch 514 and the shroud includes a connected light 512. The switch 514 operates the light 512, via a circuit (not shown in detail) and power source of the circuit (not shown in detail).

Referring to FIG. 6, an implement 600, similar to the implement of FIG. 5 but with multiple lights 612 in the shroud 606, provides additional light sources for illumination. The implements 500 (of FIG. 5) and 600 are exemplary of a pushable-pullable cleaning device.

Referring to FIG. 7, an implement 700 includes an extension 710 connected to a shroud 706, retaining protruding cleaning elements 708. The shroud 706 is formed to accommodate and retain a light 712. The extension 710 includes an incorporated power switch 714, for example, near a location of the extension 710 close to the connection of the extension 710 to the shroud 706. The light 712 electrically connects to the switch 714 and a power source (not shown in detail).

Referring to FIG. 8, another implement 800, for example, a pushable-pullable type device, includes an extension 810 connected to a shroud 806. The shroud 806 is connected to and retains a cleaning element 808. The shroud 806 retains more than one light 812, each positioned to illuminate a surface for cleaning. A power switch 814 is incorporated in and connected to the extension 810 near the shroud 806. The more than one light 812 are electrically connected to the switch 814 and a power source (not shown in detail).

Referring to FIG. 9, a different implement 900, for example, a mop, has a handle extension 910 connected to a head 908, such as strings or yarn, via a connector 906. The handle extension 910 is connected to and incorporated with a power switch 914 and a light 912. The power switch 914 is disposed in an ergonomically suitable location along the handle extension 910 for a user's manual operation. The light 912 is located along the handle extension 910 at a location thereof suitable for the light 912 to illuminate an area for cleaning. The light 912 is electrically connected to the switch 914 and a power source (not shown in detail) in order to complete an on/off circuit for operating the light 912.

Referring to FIG. 10, in conjunction with FIG. 9, another side of an implement 1000, such as the implement 900 of FIG. 9, also includes an additional light 1012 (although two lights 912, 1012 are shown in the implement, multiple lights, beyond two lights, can be included in the implement 1000, with appropriate or desired positioning along the handle extension 910 in order to direct light to a desired area or surface for cleaning). A power circuit, including the switch 914, a power source (not shown in detail), and the light 1012 (and other lights, e.g., light 912, etc.), interconnects these elements for desired on/off operations of the light(s).

Referring to FIG. 11, another cleaning implement 1100, such as a Swiffer™, scraper, painter, or other cleaning element and surface, also includes a light 1112 (or lights, as the case may be). As with the implements previously described, the implement 1100 includes a handle 1110 connected to a cleaning head 1106 and cleaning fixture 1108. The implement 1100 also can, but need not necessarily, include a reservoir 1105, connected to the handle 1110 or otherwise to connect to the fixture 1108 and supply a cleaning substance, for example, soap, paint, or other solid, liquid or gas substance. The light 1112 is incorporated and fixed in the handle 1110 (or, alternatively, at another location of the implement 1100) suitable to illuminate a surface subject to cleaning, painting or other utility operations. Although a single one of the light 1112 is shown, multiple lights and similar orientation are included. Also as with the implements previously described, the switch 1114 electrically connects to the light 1112 and a power source (not shown), and the light 1112 is desirably switchable on and off via the switch 1114 for use of the implement 1100.

Referring to FIGS. 12A and 12B, an alternative implement 1200 includes a trigger switch 1214 (shown in phantom). This switch 1214 turns “on” whenever a pressure or manipulation occurs to a cleaning element 1208. The implement 1200 has a handle 120, connected to a shroud 1206, and the shroud 1206 retains connected thereto the cleaning element 1208. Retained in and connected to the shroud 1206 is a light 1212 (i.e., a single light or more than one light, as applicable and desired). A trigger feature 1214a of the switch 1214 touches or is otherwise associatedly related or configured to operate “on” whenever the cleaning element 1208 is employed in cleaning operations. For example, when the implement 1200 is not in use for cleaning, the light 1212 is “off” because the cleaning element 1208 is not in contact with a cleaning surface as in FIG. 12A; however, whenever the cleaning element 1208 contacts the cleaning surface, as in FIG. 12B, the switch 1214 is switched “on” and the light 1212 illuminates. The switch 1214 is any of a wide variety of switch possibilities, wherein a pressure, force, movement, or other event (e.g., downward push in the direction of arrow A) as to the cleaning element 1208 causes the switch 1214 to be triggered and turned “on”. As in the prior descriptions of the various other implements and embodiments, the switch 1214 is connected to the light 1212 and each is electrically connected to a power source 1222 by a circuit 1220. The power source 1222 can be a battery or other source, either internal or external to the implement 1200. An access cap 1218 permits access to the power source 1222 and/or other internals of the implement 1200 as configured and desired for the particular use application.

Other alternatives are possible in keeping with the foregoing and all such alternatives are included herein. For example, a handle or extension of an implement can be significantly foreshortened, such as with a wisk broom or the like, or bent, shaped or otherwise configured. Moreover, a shroud or other connector for the cleaning element can, itself, serve as a handle. The shroud can be any of a wide variety of mechanisms that serve to retain a cleaning element. The shroud can be formed with the cleaning element, such that the shroud and cleaning element are a unitary piece. A wide variety of materials are possible for the implements. Additionally, a wide variety of lights and similar illumination elements are possible and all are included. External and internal power sources and supplies are incorporable. Replaceable elements, including lights, cleaning element, handle, battery, circuitry, switch or trigger, and other parts and units can be included. Moreover, the particular aspects of switch operations, including the design and method, means or mode of operations thereof, are variable and include all possibilities for every included application and use.

In the foregoing specification, the invention has been described with reference to specific embodiments. However, one of ordinary skill in the art appreciates that various modifications and changes can be made without departing from the scope of the present invention as set forth in the claims below. Accordingly, the specification and figures are to be regarded in an illustrative rather than a restrictive sense, and all such modifications are intended to be included within the scope of the present invention.

Benefits, other advantages, and solutions to problems have been described above with regard to specific embodiments. However, the benefits, advantages, solutions to problems and any element(s) that may cause any benefit, advantage, or solution to occur or become more pronounced are not to be construed as a critical, required, or essential feature or element of any or all the claims. As used herein, the terms “comprises, “comprising,” or any other variation thereof, are intended to cover a non-exclusive inclusion, such that a process, method, article, or apparatus that comprises a list of elements does not include only those elements but may include other elements not expressly listed or inherent to such process, method, article, or apparatus.