Title:
Canister hose reel
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A portable hose reel assembly that includes a housing assembly structured to support a rotatable hose reel assembly on an axis, an elongated hose reel assembly coupled to the housing assembly and extending longitudinally about the axis, and a handle assembly having a handle member and at least one brace. The at least one brace is coupled to the housing assembly and extends generally parallel to the axis, the handle member coupled to the at least one brace and extends generally perpendicular to the brace.



Inventors:
Fasser, Eric K. (Enola, PA, US)
English, Stephen T. (Englewood, OH, US)
Application Number:
11/598991
Publication Date:
06/28/2007
Filing Date:
11/14/2006
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
137/355.27, 242/405.3, 242/407
International Classes:
B65H75/40
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
CAMPOS, JR, JUAN J
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
David C. Jenkins (Pittsburgh, PA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A portable hose reel assembly comprising: a housing assembly structured to support a rotatable hose reel assembly on an axis; an elongated reel assembly rotatably coupled to said housing assembly and extending longitudinally about said axis; a handle assembly having a handle member and at least one brace; said at least one brace coupled to said housing assembly and extending generally parallel to said axis; and said handle member coupled to said at least one brace and extending generally perpendicular to said at least one brace.

2. The portable hose reel assembly of claim 1, wherein: said reel assembly is generally cylindrical; said handle member has a generally arcuate portion; and said arcuate portion extending generally circumferentially about said reel assembly.

3. The portable hose reel assembly of claim 2, wherein said arcuate portion has a greater radius than said reel assembly.

4. The portable hose reel assembly of claim 3, wherein: said reel assembly includes a central barrel portion and two opposed end hubs, said hubs having a radius of between about 3.0 and 4.5 inches; and wherein the radius of said arcuate portion is between about 5.5 and 10.0 inches.

5. The portable hose reel assembly of claim 4, wherein: said reel assembly includes a central barrel portion and two opposed end hubs, said hubs having a radius of about 3.8 inches; and wherein the radius of said arcuate portion is about 6.8 inches.

6. The portable hose reel assembly of claim 1, wherein: said housing assembly includes a base member and two side members; said side members structured to rotatably support said reel assembly assembly, said side members being held in a generally parallel spaced relation by said base member; and said at least one brace extending between said side members.

7. The portable hose reel assembly of claim 6, wherein: said at least one brace includes a first brace and a second brace; said first brace and said second brace each extending between said side members; said first brace and said second brace being spaced from each other; and said handle member extending between said first brace and said second brace.

8. The portable hose reel assembly of claim 7, wherein: said side members each have a curved upper surface; said first brace and said second brace each being coupled to said curved upper surface of said side members; said reel assembly is generally cylindrical; said handle member has a generally arcuate portion; and said arcuate portion extending generally circumferentially about said reel assembly.

9. The portable hose reel assembly of claim 8, wherein said first brace and said second brace are each bowed away from said reel assembly.

10. The portable hose reel assembly of claim 9, wherein said handle member is bowed away from said reel assembly.

11. The portable hose reel assembly of claim 10, wherein said arcuate portion has a greater radius than said reel assembly.

12. The portable hose reel assembly of claim 11, wherein: said reel assembly includes a central barrel portion and two opposed end hubs, said hubs having a radius of between about 3.0 and 4.5 inches; and wherein the radius of said arcuate portion is between about 5.5 and 10.0 inches.

13. The portable hose reel assembly of claim 12, wherein: said reel assembly includes a central barrel portion and two opposed end hubs, said hubs having a radius of about 3.8 inches; and wherein the radius of said arcuate portion is about 6.8 inches.

14. The portable hose reel assembly of claim 8, wherein said handle member is bowed away from said reel assembly.

15. The portable hose reel assembly of claim 14, wherein said arcuate portion has a greater radius than said reel assembly.

16. The portable hose reel assembly of claim 15, wherein: said reel assembly includes a central barrel portion and two opposed end hubs, said hubs having a radius of between about 3.0 and 4.5 inches; and wherein the radius of said arcuate portion is between about 5.5 and 10.0 inches.

17. The portable hose reel assembly of claim 17, wherein said reel assembly includes a central barrel portion and two opposed end hubs, said hubs having a radius of about 3.8 inches; and wherein the radius of said arcuate portion is about 6.8 inches.

18. The portable hose reel assembly of claim 8 wherein: said reel assembly includes a central barrel portion, two opposed end hubs, a water conduit assembly, and a crank assembly; said crank assembly structured to rotate said barrel portion relative to said housing assembly; said reel assembly hubs coupled to said barrel portion; said reel assembly hubs rotatably coupled to said housing assembly; said water conduit assembly being a hollow tube with an stationary portion and a rotating portion; said stationary portion extending generally along said axis; and said rotating portion extending through said barrel portion.

19. The portable hose reel assembly of claim 8 wherein: said reel assembly includes a central barrel portion, two opposed end hubs, a water conduit assembly, and a crank assembly; said crank assembly structured to rotate said barrel portion relative to said housing assembly; said reel assembly hubs coupled to said barrel portion; said reel assembly hubs rotatably coupled to said housing assembly; said water conduit assembly being a hollow tube with a stationary portion and a rotating portion; said stationary portion extending generally along said axis; said rotating portion having an axial portion and a perpendicular portion; said axial portion having an axial end and a perpendicular end; said axial portion extending generally along said axis with said axial end rotatably coupled to said stationary portion; said perpendicular portion having a radial portion and a tangent portion; said radial portion extending generally perpendicular to said axis and rotatably coupled to said axial portion perpendicular end; and said tangent portion extending adjacent to said barrel portion and structured to rotate to face either a first direction or a second direction relative to said barrel portion.

20. The portable hose reel assembly of claim 1 wherein: said reel assembly includes a central barrel portion, two opposed end hubs, a water conduit assembly, and a crank assembly; said crank assembly structured to rotate said barrel portion relative to said housing assembly; said reel assembly hubs coupled to said barrel portion; said reel assembly hubs rotatably coupled to said housing assembly; said water conduit assembly being a hollow tube with a stationary portion and a rotating portion; said stationary portion extending generally along said axis; said rotating portion having an axial portion and a perpendicular portion; said axial portion having an axial end and a perpendicular end; said axial portion extending generally along said axis with said axial end rotatably coupled to said stationary portion; said perpendicular portion having a radial portion and a tangent portion; said radial portion extending generally perpendicular to said axis and rotatably coupled to said axial portion perpendicular end; and said tangent portion extending adjacent to said barrel portion and structured to rotate to face either a first direction or a second direction relative to said barrel portion.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application claims priority under 35 U.S.C. §119(e) to U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 60/736,215, filed Nov. 14, 2005 entitled, CANISTER HOSE REEL.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

This invention relates to a hose reel and, more specifically, to a compact hose reel having a generally canister-like shape.

2. Background Information

Hose reel assemblies are devices structured to assist in transporting and using hoses, typically garden hoses for dispensing water. Generally, the hose reel includes a base or housing assembly structured to rotatably support a reel. The reel includes a barrel, around which the hose is wrapped, a crank, used to turn the reel, and a water conduit having a movable end and a fixed end. The stationary end of the conduit extends away from the reel and is structured to be coupled to a water supply. The movable end of the conduit is disposed on the circumference of the reel. In this configuration, a hose may be coupled to the movable end of the conduit and, when the reel is rotated, the hose is wrapped, or unwrapped, about the reel. In this configuration, a hose may be transported and/or stored on the hose reel assembly.

One type of hose reel includes a handle member used to transport the hose reel and to assist in bracing the hose reel during winding. The prior art hose reel handles were typically disposed parallel to the axis of rotation of the reel. That is, the prior art handle was a U-shaped member wherein the two ends extended radially away from the reel axis and the central portion extended parallel to the reel axis. See, e.g., U.S. Pat. No. 5,056,553. While such a handle allows a user to transport the hose reel, it does have disadvantages. For example, a user may grasp the handle at any location, possibly resulting in an off-center or unbalanced support relative to the hose reel center of gravity. While this disadvantage may be partially addressed by identifying the center of the handle as a grip, e.g., by having visual indication such as having a portion of the handle a different color or different size, a user may still grasp the handle in an unbalanced manner. In addition to being unbalanced during transport, an off-center grip was also a disadvantage during the winding of the hose. That is, depending upon the flexibility of the hose, winding of the hose could require a substantial amount of force. Typically, a user used the handle to brace the hose reel assembly on the ground or other solid surface. To brace the hose reel assembly it is preferable to have an evenly distributed load so that both sides of the housing assembly firmly engage the ground. However, if a user pressed down on one side of the handle, the opposing side of the hose reel assembly could shift during vigorous winding.

Further, given the orientation of the handle, that is parallel to the axis of rotation, the handle needed to have an extended length so that the steadying force applied by the user during winding could overcome the torque created by the act of winding. That is, if the handle was too close to the axis of rotation, as the user wound the hose the torque created by the winding could be greater than the counter force applied to the handle by the user. Therefore, to give the user a mechanical advantage, the handle ends would have an extended length. The disadvantage to this configuration is that the handle was generally not compact, thereby taking up valuable storage space.

There is, therefore, a need for a compact hose reel.

There is a further need for a compact hose reel having a perpendicular handle structured to evenly distribute loads between the handle and the housing assembly.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

These needs, and others, are met by the present invention which provides a hose reel assembly having a centrally located perpendicular handle member. The handle member is coupled to a brace. The brace extends generally parallel to the rotational axis of the hose reel. The handle extends generally perpendicular to the brace. While the handle member may be a generally straight member, the perpendicular handle member is, preferably, an arced member having a radius slightly larger than the radius of the reel hubs. As such, the perpendicular handle may also be a circumferential handle member. The perpendicular handle member is, preferably, disposed about an equal distance between the reel hubs. In this configuration, the user grips the handle perpendicular to that axis of rotation of the reel assembly. It is more convenient for a user to overcome the torque created during the winding of the hose if the user's hand is in this orientation. That is, due to the orientation of the handle member, the handle member may be disposed closer to the axis of that reel assembly than was possible with a handle oriented parallel to the axis of rotation. As such, the reduced distance between the handle and the axis of rotation of the reel assembly is possible because of the orientation of the handle member and is not merely a design choice. Thus, in this configuration, the handle is both compact and structured to evenly distribute loads between the handle and the housing assembly.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

A full understanding of the invention can be gained from the following description of the preferred embodiments when read in conjunction with the accompanying drawings in which:

FIG. 1 is an exploded view of the present invention.

FIG. 2 is an isometric view showing selected features of the present invention.

FIG. 3 is a side view showing selected features of the present invention.

FIG. 4 is a detailed view of a conduit assembly.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

As used herein, “coupled” means a link between two or more elements, whether direct or indirect, so long as a link occurs.

As used herein, a “circumferential handle” has a generally arced or curved portion. That is, the arced, or curved, portion may not be exactly circular.

As shown in FIG. 1, a hose reel assembly 10 includes a housing assembly 12, and a reel assembly 14, and a handle assembly 16. The housing assembly 12 includes a base member 20, and two side members 22, 24. The side members 22, 24 are structured to rotatably support the reel assembly 14. Preferably, each side member 22, 24 has a hub 25 upon which the reel assembly 14 may rotate. The side members 22, 24 each have at least one foot 26 structured to engage the ground or another rigid surface. Each side member 22, 24 preferably has a curved upper surface 28, 29. The curvature of the side member curved upper surfaces 28, 29 corresponds to, but is larger than, the shape and curvature of the reel assembly hubs 32, 34 (described below). The side member curved upper surfaces 28, 29 preferably extend over an arc of about 180 degrees. The side members 22, 24 are coupled to, and held in a generally parallel spaced relation by, the base member 20.

The reel assembly 14 is generally cylindrical and includes an elongated barrel portion 30, two end hubs 32, 34, a water conduit assembly 36, and a crank assembly 60. The barrel portion 30 has a cylindrical body 38 with an axis of rotation 40. The reel assembly hubs 32, 34 are disposed at opposite ends of the barrel portion 30. The reel assembly hubs 32, 34 are, preferably, circular and have a greater diameter than the barrel portion 30. The reel assembly hubs 32, 34 are structured to be rotatably coupled to the housing assembly 12 side members 22, 24 at the side member hubs 25. When the reel assembly 14 is coupled to the housing assembly 12, the reel assembly 14 is structured to rotate about the longitudinal axis 40 of the barrel portion 30. The water conduit assembly 36 has a stationary portion 52, a rotating portion 54, and a seal therebetween (not shown). The stationary portion 52 is a generally elongated tube 50 disposed generally along the axis of rotation 40. The rotating portion 54 has an axial section 56 and a perpendicular section 57. The axial section 56 is disposed, generally, along the axis of rotation 40 and is rotatably coupled to the stationary portion 52. The perpendicular section 57 extends generally perpendicular to the axis of rotation 40. That is, the perpendicular section 57 extends through the barrel portion 30. In this configuration, the stationary portion 52 extends from the reel assembly 14 and may be coupled to a supply hose. The rotating portion 54 is rotatably coupled to the stationary portion 52 and rotates with the barrel portion 30. The hub 32, 34 opposite the tube stationary end 52 is coupled to the crank assembly 60. The crank assembly 60 includes a disk 62 and a knob 64. The disk 62 is structured to be disposed on the outer side of the housing assembly 12 while being coupled to the hub 32, 34. The knob 64 is coupled to the disk 62 near the periphery of the disk 62. In this configuration, a user may grasp the knob 64 and rotate the disk 62, thereby rotating the reel assembly 14.

The handle assembly 16 includes at least one elongated brace 70, as shown; there is a first and second brace 70, 72, and a handle member 74. Each brace 70, 72 is structured to be coupled to, and extend between, the housing assembly side members 22, 24. Thus, the braces 70, 72 extend generally parallel to the axis 40 of rotation of the reel assembly 14. The braces 70, 72 are, preferably, coupled to the side member curved upper surfaces 28, 29. The braces 70, 72 are spaced apart from each other, preferably being about 70 degrees apart on the side member curved upper surfaces 28, 29. The braces 70, 72 may be shaped to bow away from the reel assembly 14 and each has a medial vertex 76, 78.

The handle member 74 is coupled to, and extends between, the braces 70, 72. The handle member 74 is, preferably, generally perpendicular to the at least one brace 70, 72. Additionally, as shown in FIGS. 2 and 3, the handle member 74, preferably, has an arcuate, or curved, portion 80. The arcuate portion 80 extends generally circumferentially about the reel assembly 14. That is, the arcuate portion 80 extends between the medial vertices 76, 78 of the braces 70, 72. By being coupled to the braces 70, 72 at the medial vertices 76, 78, the arcuate portion 80 is spaced from the reel assembly 14. Further, the arcuate portion 80 may also be shaped to bow away from the reel assembly 14. The shape to the braces 70, 72 and the arcuate portion 80 ensure that there is a gap 90 between the handle member 74 and the reel assembly 14. The radius of the arcuate portion 80 is slightly greater than the radius of the hubs 32, 34. In this configuration the arcuate portion 80 does not extend a great length beyond the housing assembly 12 allowing the hose reel assembly 10 to be compact while further allowing a space between the handle member 74 and a hose (not shown) that is wound about the reel assembly 14. By way of example, if the hubs 32, 34 have a radius of about 3.8 inches, the handle member 74 radius, relative to the axis of rotation 40, is about 6.8 inches. Of course, the size of the hubs 32, 34 and handle member 74 may vary.

In another embodiment, shown in FIG. 4, the water conduit assembly 36 includes a three-part conduit. That is, the rotating portion 54 may have two components, an axial portion 100 and a radial portion 102. The axial portion 100 is an elongated tube 104 having an axial end 106 and a perpendicular end 108. The axial portion axial end 106 is rotatably coupled to the stationary portion tube 50. The axial portion 100 is generally disposed along the axis of rotation 40. The perpendicular end 108 is disposed within the barrel portion 30 and is bent, or curves, to extend generally perpendicular to the axis of rotation 40. The radial portion 102 includes a L-shaped tubular body 110 having an elongated perpendicular portion 112 and a tangent portion 114. The perpendicular portion 112 is rotatably coupled to the perpendicular end 108 of the axial portion 100. The tangent portion 114 extends generally perpendicular to the perpendicular portion 112 and generally tangent to the outer surface of the barrel portion 30. The barrel portion 30 may have a generally flat platform disposed about the area where the perpendicular portion 112 penetrates the barrel portion 30. As is known in the art, generally water tight seals (not shown) are disposed between the stationary portion tube 50 and the axial portion 100, as well as between the axial portion 100 and the radial portion 102.

In this configuration, the hose reel assembly 10 may be adapted to be wound in either a “left-handed” or “right-handed” direction. That is, the hose (not shown) is wrapped about the barrel portion 30 in either a clockwise or counterclockwise direction. The direction that the hose is wrapped about the barrel portion 30 determines the direction that the crank assembly 60 must be turned in order to wind the hose. The direction that the hose is wrapped about the barrel portion 30 is determined by the direction that the tangent portion 114 faces. Thus, prior to attaching the hose to the tangent portion 114, a user may rotate the tangent portion 114 to face a selected direction. In a first direction, the tangent portion 114 faces clockwise relative to the barrel portion 30 and in a second direction, the tangent portion 114 faces counterclockwise relative to the barrel portion 30. Thus, by orienting the tangent portion 114 to face clockwise, the hose will be wrapped about the barrel portion 30 in a clockwise direction. Conversely, by orienting the tangent portion 114 to face counterclockwise the hose will be wrapped about the barrel portion 30 in a counterclockwise direction. Thus, the user may select whether the hose shall be wound in a “left-handed” or “right-handed” direction.

While specific embodiments of the invention have been described in detail, it will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that various modifications and alternatives to those details could be developed in light of the overall teachings of the disclosure. Accordingly, the particular arrangements disclosed are meant to be illustrative only and not limiting as to the scope of the invention which is to be given the full breadth of the claims appended and any and all equivalents thereof.