Title:
CLOSET AUGER
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A toilet auger includes a first elongate tubular housing, a second elongate tubular housing, a drain cleaning cable, a driven member, and a feed mechanism. The first elongate tubular housing includes a rotational axis. The second elongate tubular housing receives at least a portion of the first housing. The drain cleaning cable is disposed in the first housing and includes a portion disposed generally along the rotational axis. The cable operatively engages the first housing such that rotation of the first housing about the rotational axis causes the cable to rotate generally in the rotational axis. The driven member connects to the first housing for rotating the first housing about the rotational axis to rotate at least a portion of the drain cable generally in the rotational axis. The feed mechanism engages the cable and is configured to axially displace the cable as the cable rotates generally in the rotational axis. A method for removing an obstruction from a toilet drain is also disclosed.



Inventors:
Babb, Larry F. (Grafton, OH, US)
Duff, Clifford P. (Sheffield Village, OH, US)
Application Number:
11/695956
Publication Date:
10/09/2008
Filing Date:
04/03/2007
Assignee:
EMERSON ELECTRIC CO. (St. Louis, MO, US)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E03D9/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
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20090007320Adapting Flange of Toilet BowlJanuary, 2009Guo
20060253968BedpanNovember, 2006Mosler et al.
20090199332Toilets with Improved TrapwaysAugust, 2009Mesun et al.
20070277301Toilet aquarium assemblyDecember, 2007Quintana
20070250995COMBINED TOILET SEAT AND FLUSHING SYSTEMNovember, 2007White
20090172875BATHING AREA SURROUNDJuly, 2009Dabrowski
20090293189Apparatus for Displaying Shower or Bath Water ParametersDecember, 2009Somerville
20060248640Multi-Purpose Shower ApparatusNovember, 2006Leong
20100003655Male toddler toilet training aidJanuary, 2010Stephenson Jr.
20060143817Submersible motorJuly, 2006Shebek et al.



Primary Examiner:
CHIN, RANDALL E
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
RANKIN, HILL & CLARK LLP (WILLOUGHBY, OH, US)
Claims:
1. A toilet auger comprising: a first elongate tubular housing defining a longitudinal axis; a second elongate tubular housing extending in at least a portion of the first housing; a drain cleaning cable disposed in the second housing and having opposite proximal and distal ends, the proximal end slidably engaging the second housing and being carried by the second housing and axially movable with respect to the second housing and located at a position on said longitudinal axis such that rotation of the second housing about the longitudinal axis causes the proximal end of the cable to rotate generally about the longitudinal axis; a driven member operatively connected to the second housing for rotating the second housing relative to the first housing about the longitudinal axis to rotate at least a portion of the drain cleaning cable generally about the longitudinal axis; and a feed mechanism coupled with the first housing and configured to urge the cable generally along the longitudinal axis as the first housing is rotated relative to the second housing.

2. The toilet auger of claim 1, further comprising: a drive block on the proximal end of said cable, the drive block cooperating with the second housing such that rotation of the second housing results in rotation of the drive block and the cable.

3. The toilet auger of claim 2, wherein an inner surface of the second housing is non-circular in cross section taken normal to the longitudinal axis and an outer surface of the drive block has a complementary shape in cross section taken normal to the longitudinal axis.

4. The toilet auger of claim 1, further comprising a hand grip, the hand grip receiving the second housing such that the second housing rotates with respect to the hand grip.

5. The toilet auger of claim 1, wherein the first housing includes a curved hollow portion adjacent a distal end, the curved hollow portion configured to fit into the discharge opening of an associated toilet bowl.

6. The toilet auger of claim 1, wherein the first housing has a length lt measured generally parallel to the longitudinal axis and the cable has a length lc measured along the longitudinal axis, wherein lt/lc is about 0.9 to about 1.1.

7. The toilet auger of claim 1, wherein the driven member includes a crank arm connected to the second housing.

8. The toilet auger of claim 1, wherein the driven member comprises an output shaft of a driver.

9. The toilet auger of claim 1, wherein said feed mechanism includes a movable drive roll that selectively engages the cable.

10. The toilet auger of claim 9, wherein the feed mechanism is configured to advance the cable from the second housing when the cable is rotated in a first longitudinal direction and to retract the cable into the first housing when the cable is rotated in the first longitudinal direction.

11. A method for removing an obstruction from a toilet drain pipe, the method comprising: providing a toilet auger including a drain cleaning cable, an outer housing, a cable housing rotatably mounted in at least a portion of the outer housing and a feed mechanism; inserting a distal portion of the outer housing of the toilet auger into a discharge opening of a toilet; and rotating the cable housing with respect to the feed mechanism in a first rotational direction to cause the cable to advance into the toilet drain pipe, whereby a proximal end of the cable is axially displaced relative to the cable housing.

12. The method of claim 11, further comprising rotating the cable housing with respect to the feed mechanism in a second rotational direction to cause the cable to retract into the cable housing.

13. The method of claim 11, further comprising rotating the cable housing with respect to the feed mechanism in the first rotational direction to cause the cable to retract into the cable housing.

14. The method of claim 13, further comprising changing an operating state of the feed mechanism.

15. A toilet auger comprising: an elongate cable housing defining a rotational axis; a driven member operatively connected to the cable housing for rotating the cable housing about the rotational axis; a drain cleaning cable at least partially received in the cable housing and having a proximal end located generally along the rotational axis; a feed mechanism engaging the cable for axially moving the cable in response to relative rotation between the cable and the feed mechanism; and a drive block operatively coupled with the proximal end of the cable and being slidably received in the cable housing for movement together with said proximal end of the cable along said rotational axis defined by the cable housing, the drive block engaging the cable housing for rotation along with the cable housing.

16. The toilet auger of claim 15, wherein the cable housing includes an interior passage dimensioned to preclude coiling of the cable about the rotational axis.

17. The toilet auger of claim 15, wherein the cable housing has a non-circular interior surface in a cross section taken perpendicular to the rotational axis.

18. The toilet auger of claim 15, further comprising an outer housing connected to the cable housing, the outer housing including a curved distal end portion.

19. The toilet auger of claim 15, wherein the feed mechanism includes movable rollers that selectively engage the cable.

20. The toilet auger of claim 15, wherein the driven member includes at least one of an output shaft of a motor and a crank arm connected to a handle.

21. A toilet auger comprising: a first elongate tubular housing defining a longitudinal axis and having opposite first and second ends, and a handle portion on the first end thereof; a second elongate tubular housing loosely rotatably received in the first housing and having an inner surface; a driven member operatively connected to the second tubular housing for rotating the second housing relative to the first housing about said longitudinal axis; a drain cleaning cable having opposite distal and proximal ends, the proximal end being located in the second tubular member and on said longitudinal axis; a drive block on the proximal end of the cable and slideable together with said cable in said second tubular housing along said longitudinal axis, the drive block having an outer surface complementary to said inner surface of the second housing for being driven by the second housing about the longitudinal axis; and, a feed mechanism coupled with the second end of the first tubular housing, the feed mechanism being configured to engage said cable and urge the cable generally along the longitudinal axis for moving the distal end thereof relative to the first and second housings based on relative motion between the feed mechanism and the cable.

22. The toilet auger according to claim 21, wherein: said inner surface of the second housing is non-circular in cross section taken normal to the longitudinal axis; and, said outer surface of the drive block has a complementary non-circular shape in cross section taken normal to the longitudinal axis.

23. The toilet auger according to claim 21, wherein said handle portion is a hand grip, the hand grip receiving the first end of the second housing such that the second housing rotates with respect to the hand grip.

24. The toilet auger according to claim 21, wherein the first housing includes a curved hollow portion adjacent the second end thereof, the curved hollow portion being configured to fit into the discharge opening of an associated toilet bowl.

25. The toilet auger according to claim 21, wherein the first housing has a length lt measured generally parallel to the longitudinal axis and the cable has a length lc measured along the longitudinal axis, wherein lt/Ic is about 0.9 to about 1.1.

26. The toilet auger according to claim 21, wherein the driven member includes a crank arm connected to the second housing.

27. The toilet auger according to claim 21, wherein the driven member comprises an output shaft of a driver.

28. The toilet auger according to claim 21, wherein said feed mechanism includes a movable drive roll that selectively engages the cable.

29. The toilet auger according to claim 21, wherein the feed mechanism is configured to selectively advance the cable from the second housing when the cable is rotated in a first direction and to selectively retract the cable into the first housing when the cable is rotated in said first longitudinal direction.

30. The toilet auger according to claim 21, wherein the feed mechanism includes: a feed housing member coupled with the second end of the first tubular member; a trigger member coupled with the first elongate housing adjacent said handle portion; and, a rod member extending between the feed housing member and the trigger member for actuating the feed mechanism using the trigger member.

31. The toilet auger according to claim 21, wherein the driven member includes an electric motor.

Description:

BACKGROUND

Known toilet augers, also referred to as closet augers, typically include an exposed cable that is inserted into the drain of the toilet. Since the cable is exposed the operator of the toilet auger typically must handle the cable after the drain cleaning operation is finished. This has been found to be undesirable.

Additionally, operation of toilet augers having the exposed cable, while not overly complicated, is not very intuitive. Proper operation of the toilet auger can require some instruction or training.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION

According to the first embodiment, a toilet auger includes a first elongate tubular housing, a second elongate tubular housing, a drain cleaning cable, a driven member, and a feed mechanism. The first elongate tubular housing defines a longitudinal axis. The second elongate tubular housing receives at least a portion of the first housing. The drain cleaning cable is disposed in the first housing and includes opposite proximal and distal ends, the proximal end being carried by the first housing. The proximal end of the cable is carried by the first housing such that rotation of the first housing about the longitudinal axis causes the cable to rotate generally about the longitudinal axis. The driven member connects to the first housing for rotating the first housing about the longitudinal axis to rotate at least a portion of the drain cable generally about the longitudinal axis. The feed mechanism is coupled with the second housing and is configured to urge the cable generally along the longitudinal axis as the first housing is rotated with respect to the second housing.

Also described is a method for removing an obstruction from a toilet drain pipe. The method includes inserting a distal portion of a toilet auger into a discharge opening of a toilet and rotating a cable housing of the toilet auger. The toilet auger includes a drain cleaning cable, an outer housing, a cable housing rotatably mounted in at least a portion of the outer housing, and a feed mechanism.

According to another embodiment, a toilet auger includes an elongate cable housing, a driven member, a drain cleaning cable, a feed mechanism, and a drive block. The elongate cable housing defines a rotational axis. The driven member operatively connects to the cable housing for rotating the cable housing about the rotational axis. The drain cleaning cable is disposed in the cable housing and resides generally along the rotational axis. The feed mechanism engages the cable for axially moving the cable in response to rotation of the cable. The drive block is slidably received in the cable housing and connects to the cable. The drive block engages the cable housing for rotation along with the cable housing.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an embodiment of a toilet auger.

FIG. 2 is a side view of the toilet auger depicted in FIG. 1 with selected portions shown in cross section.

FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional view taken along line 3-3 of FIG. 2.

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of an alternative embodiment of a toilet auger.

FIG. 5 is a longitudinal cross-sectional view of an alternative embodiment of a toilet auger showing a feed mechanism in different operating positions.

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of an alternative embodiment of a toilet auger.

FIG. 7 is a perspective view of an example of a feed mechanism that can be used with the toilet augers described above.

FIG. 8 is an exploded view of the feed mechanism shown in FIG. 7.

FIG. 9 is an end view of the feed mechanism depicted in FIG. 7.

FIG. 10 is a cross-sectional view taken along line 10-10 shown in FIG. 7.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

With reference to the embodiment depicted in FIGS. 1-3, a toilet auger 10, which also can be referred to as a closet auger, includes a first housing 12, a second housing 14 (FIG. 2), a drain cleaning cable 16 housed in the second housing, a driven member for rotating the cable and a cable feed mechanism 18 for axially deploying and retracting the cable. Although not to be limited to only the later described advantages, the toilet augers described herein are easier and cleaner to use than the known toilet auger described above. It allows the operator to avoid handling the cable, if desired, and can be more intuitive to operate.

In the depicted embodiment of FIG. 1, the toilet auger 10 has a length that is between about two feet (0.8 m) and about 4 feet (1.2 m), and preferably about 3 feet (1 m). The toilet auger 10 is particularly useful in cleaning drains of toilets, but it can also be used to clean other drains.

The first housing 12 in the embodiment depicted in FIG. 1 provides an external housing for the toilet auger 10. As more clearly seen in FIG. 2, the external housing 12 includes an elongate hollow tube 22 that, in the depicted embodiment, has a generally circular configuration in a cross section taken normal to a longitudinal axis 24 of the tube 22 (see FIG. 3). The first housing 12 is made from a durable rigid material, for example plastic, metal, or a composite material. The external housing 12 also includes a curved hollow tube 26 at its distal end. The distal end of the external housing 12 is preferably curved in the shape illustrated so that the distal end can be inserted into the toilet; however, other curved shapes or other configurations may be used or desired for other operations. The curved hollow tube 26 can also be made from a durable rigid material, for example plastic, metal, or a composite material.

The feed mechanism 18, examples of which will be described in more detail below, is interposed between the elongate hollow tube 22 and the curved hollow tube 26. Alternatively, the curved hollow tube can also attach to the elongate hollow tube using a hollow connector (an embodiment having this configuration will be described in more detail below). Additionally, the elongate hollow tube and the curved hollow tube can be made as an integral, i.e. one-piece, tube (this embodiment would require relocation of the feed mechanism).

With continued reference to FIG. 2, the second housing 14, which can also be referred to as the cable housing, is an elongate hollow tube that is loosely rotatably received inside the elongate hollow tube 22 of the outer housing 12. The cable housing 14 defines an inner passage extending therethrough that is dimensioned to closely receive the cable 16 and to prevent the cable from coiling around the longitudinal axis 24 during use of the auger 10. Instead, the cable 16 is allowed to move axially with respect to the cable housing, in a manner that will be described in more detail below. The cable housing 14 is made from a durable rigid material, for example plastic, metal, or a composite material. In a cross section taken normal to the longitudinal axis 24, the cable housing 14 has an inner diameter that is non-circular in configuration and an outer diameter that is generally circular in configuration, i.e. enough to be received in and rotatable with respect to the outer elongate tube 22 (see FIG. 3). The cable housing 14 extends (and may extend outwardly) from a proximal end of the outer elongate tube 22 and through the outer elongate tube to a distal end of the outer elongate tube. In the embodiment depicted in FIGS. 1-3, the distal end of the outer elongate tube 22 connects to the feed mechanism 18. Alternatively, the distal end of the outer elongate tube can connect to a connector (embodiment will be described below) or end where the curved hollow tube begins to curve away from the longitudinal axis.

The drain cleaning cable 16 is received inside the cable housing 14. The cable 16, as is conventional, is an elongate, flexible member made of tightly wound spring wire. The free or outer end of the cable 16 extends through the curved hollow tube 26 and outwardly beyond its distal end and, in the embodiment illustrated, the outermost end of the cable is formed to provide an auger tip 42. In the embodiment depicted in FIGS. 1-3, approximately three feet (1 m) of cable is provided. The length of the cable, however, will be a function of the length of the outer housing 12.

In the embodiments depicted in FIGS. 1-3, a proximal end 46 of the cable 16 is operatively coupled with a sliding drive member, preferably in the form of a drive block 44, that engages the inner diameter of the cable housing 14. The drive block 44 has a periphery that complements the inner diameter of the cable housing 14, which allows relative axial movement between the drive block 44 and the cable housing 14 in a manner that will be described in more detail below. The drive block 44 can have a configuration similar to a nut in that the periphery is noncircular (complementary shape to inner diameter of the cable housing 14) and the portion that would typically include a threaded passage is connected to, e.g. receives, the cable 16. The drive block 44 engages the cable housing 14 and thus can also be referred to as a housing engagement mechanism.

Multiple driven members can be provided for rotating the cable 16 as desired. The cable 16 can be rotated manually or the cable can be rotated using a powered, e.g. electrical, hydraulic or fuel-powered, machine. Each embodiment depicted includes means for rotating a housing that receives the cable. Rotation of the cable housing results in rotation of the cable about a cable axis that is generally aligned with the longitudinal axis 24 and, for the sake of brevity will be considered to be the same as the longitudinal axis 24. In the embodiment depicted in FIG. 1-3, a driven member in accordance with a preferred form comprises an S-shaped crank bar 50 that connects on one end to the cable housing 14 and carries on the opposite second end a first handle 52. The bar 50 is bent so that the first handle is disposed generally parallel to and spaced from the longitudinal axis. The handle 52 is adapted for rotation by the operator, thus in turn driving the crank bar 50, about the longitudinal axis 24 to deploy the cable 16 from a distal end of the outer housing 12. When the handle 52 is rotated about the longitudinal axis 24, the cable housing 14 rotates freely within the outer elongate tube 22. The rotation of the cable housing 14 results in the rotation of the drive block 44 because of the engagement between the cable housing and the drive block. Since the drive block 44 is connected to the cable 16, the rotation to the first handle 52 about the longitudinal axis 24 results in the rotation of the cable 16 generally about the longitudinal axis.

With continued reference to FIGS. 1 and 2, a second handle 54 is connected to a proximal end of the outer housing 12. The second handle 54 is fixed to the outer elongate tube 22 to preclude rotation of the second handle with respect to the outer elongate tube.

Multiple cable feed mechanisms can be provided to deploy selected lengths of the cable 16 from the outer housing 12 and to retract the cable into the housing. Examples of such cable feed mechanisms are described in U.S. Pat. Nos. 4,395,791; 6,158,076; and 6,360,397, and U.S. Patent Application Pub. No. 2005/0193508, each of which are incorporated by reference herein in their entirety.

The cable feed mechanism 18 shown in FIGS. 1 and 2 includes cable driving rolls 60 mounted in a hollow tubular housing 62 located at a distal end of the outer elongate tube 22. The driving rolls 60 are skewed with respect to the longitudinal axis 24 whereby rotation of the first handle 52 in a first rotational direction results in the cable 16 being deployed from the first housing and rotation of the handle in a second rotational direction, which is opposite the first, results in the cable being retracted into the outer housing. The driving rolls 60 in this embodiment always engage the cable 16, thus the cable feed mechanism 18 depicted in FIGS. 1 and 2 can be referred to as a self-energized feed mechanism.

With reference to FIG. 4 (where the components are the same as those described in FIGS. 1-3, with the exception of those that will be described below, and therefore the same reference numbers will be used) another feed mechanism 64 is similar to the feed mechanism 18 described above; however, at least one of the cable driving rolls (not visible) mounts to a movable member, hereinafter a movable roll mount, within a hollow tubular housing 66. The movable roll mount is movable between a first position where the at least one driving roll, hereinafter the movable driving roll, engages the cable 16 and a second position where the movable driving roll does not engage the cable. When the movable driving roll engages the cable 16, the cable is able to be moved axially when the cable is rotated. When the movable driving roll disengages the cable 16, the cable is unable to be moved axially when the cable is rotated, i.e. a neutral position. A similar type feed mechanism is described in U.S. Pat. No. 4,395,791.

With reference back to FIG. 4, a rod 68 attaches at one end to the movable roll mount (not visible, but disposed in the tubular housing and more fully described in U.S. Pat. No. 4,395,791) and at the other end to a trigger 70 (or other moveable component). Actuation of the trigger 70, e.g. squeezing the trigger (or moving the moveable component) results in movement of the moveable roll mount within the tubular housing 66 and thus the movable driving roll, along with the other driving rolls, engage the cable so that the cable can be moved axially. Similar to the embodiments described in FIGS. 1-3, when the trigger is squeezed or moved to engage the driving rolls with the cable rotation of the handle 52 in a first rotational direction results in the cable 16 being deployed from the outer housing and rotation of the handle in a second rotational direction, which is opposite the first, results in the cable being retracted into the outer housing. Releasing the trigger 70 releases engagement of at least one of the driving rolls and the cable whereupon the cable is in a neutral position capable of being rotated with respect to the housing 22 while not resulting in axial movement of the cable.

With reference to FIG. 5, a further preferred embodiment of a toilet auger 110 is disclosed. This embodiment includes a first elongate hollow tube 122 (similar to the elongate hollow tube 22 described above), a curved hollow tube 126 (similar to the curved hollow tube 26 described above), a cable housing 114 (similar to the cable housing 14 described above), a drive block 144 (similar to the drive block 44 described above), a drain cleaning cable 116 (similar to the drain cleaning cable 16 described above), a driven member 118 for rotating the cable and a cable feed mechanism 120 for axially deploying and retracting the cable. The first elongate hollow tube 122, the curved hollow tube 126, the cable housing 114, the drive block 144 and the drain cleaning cable 116 interact with one another and are arranged in the same or a very similar manner to how they are arranged in the embodiment depicted in FIGS. 1-3, and, therefore, further description is unnecessary.

The cable 116 is rotated using a driver 150 and the driven member 118 is the output shaft of the driver. The driver 150 can be similar to known drivers in that it includes a motor that drives the output shaft 118. The motor receives power from a power source, which can either be internal, e.g. batteries, or external, e.g. AC power. A trigger 152 that operates a switch disposed in the circuit connecting the motor to the power supply controls the delivery of power to the motor. The output shaft 118 of the driver 150 connects to the cable housing 114 to rotate the cable housing and, thus, the cable 116 in a manner that is similar to the embodiments described in FIGS. 1-3 and FIG. 4.

In the embodiment depicted in FIG. 5, the rotational direction that the cable 116 rotates does not need to be changed to extend the cable from the housing or to retract the cable into the housing. In this embodiment, the cable feed mechanism 160 is configured to not require reversal of the direction of rotation of the cable to achieve displacement thereof in axially opposite directions. FIG. 5 shows the cable feed mechanism 160 in three different states, or operating positions. The first position, where the cable 116 is being deployed from the housing, is shown above and removed from the assembly. The second position, i.e. the neutral position, is shown attached to the assembly. The third position, where the cable 116 is being retracted into the housing, is shown below and removed from the assembly.

The cable feed mechanism 160 operates similarly to the cable feed mechanism described in U.S. Patent Application Pub. No. 2005/0193508 and includes a first driving roll 162 attached to a pivoting roll mount 164 and a second driving roll 166 attached to the pivoting roll mount 164 on an opposite side of the pivot axis of the roll mount. The pivoting roll mount 164 attaches to a hollow housing 168 of the cable feed mechanism 160 with a pin 172. Additional driving rolls (not depicted) are radially spaced (with respect to the rotational axis of the cable) from the first driving roll 162 and the second driving roll 166. The additional driving rolls typically contact the cable 116. The first driving roll 162 and the second driving roll 166, however, do not engage the cable at the same time. Instead, the first driving roll 162 engages the cable 116 to displace the cable in a first axial direction upon rotation of the cable and the second driving roll 166 engages the cable to displace the cable in a second, opposite, axial direction upon rotation of the cable.

The first driving roll 162, as well as the driving rolls that operate with the first driving roll, are canted relative to the rotational axis of the cable 116 so as to drive the cable in one direction relative to the cable feed mechanism 160 when the first roll and the corresponding additional rolls engage about the cable and the cable is rotated. The second driving roll 166, as well as the driving rolls that operate with the second driving roll, are canted in the opposite direction relative to the rotational axis of the cable so that the cable engaged between the rolls of the second driving roll set is driven in the opposite direction relative to the cable feed mechanism 160 in response to rotation of the cable in the same rotational direction.

An actuator moves the pivoting roll mount 164 to selectively engage the driving rolls 162 and 166 with the cable 116. In the embodiment depicted in FIG. 5, contact surfaces 174 and 176 formed in an outer sheath 178 operate as the actuator for moving the pivoting roll mount 164. The outer sheath 178 rotates with respect to the first elongate hollow tube 122 which results in the contact surfaces 174 and 176 contacting the pivoting roll mount 164 to displace the driving rolls 162 and 166 so that one of the rolls engages the cable 116.

In the embodiment depicted in FIG. 5, a handle 182 is provided at a distal end of the outer sheath 178. The handle 182 allows the operator of the toilet auger 110 to grip the device and also move the outer sheath 178. A locking mechanism that can also be provided so that the actuator is maintained, e.g. locked, in an operating position, e.g. forward, neutral and reverse. In the depicted embodiment, a detent(s) 184 formed on the first elongate hollow tube 122 is received in a plurality of openings 186 (only one depicted) formed in the handle 182. The operator can grip the handle 182 to rotate the outer sheath 178 and the outer sheath can rotate with respect to the first elongate hollow tube 122 based on which detent is received in which opening. In addition to the locking mechanism described above, other common locking mechanisms can also be used.

With reference to FIG. 6, a still further preferred embodiment of a toilet auger 210 is disclosed. This embodiment includes an elongate hollow tube 222 (similar to the elongate hollow tube 22 described above), a curved hollow tube 226 (similar to the curved hollow tube 26 described above), a cable housing 214 (similar to a cable drum 14 described U.S. Pat. No. 6,158,076, which is incorporated by reference herein in its entirety), a drain cleaning cable 216 (similar to the drain cleaning cable 16 described above), a driven member 218 for rotating the cable and a cable feed mechanism 220 for axially deploying and retracting the cable. In this embodiment, the elongate hollow tube 222 connects to the curved hollow tube 226 through hollow connector 228.

The cable housing 214 rotatably mounts to a drum support (not visible) that is hollow and coaxial with the elongate hollow tube 222. The cable housing 214 includes front and rear drum portions 252 and 254, respectively, of a suitable metal such as steel and which portions are axially interengaged and joined such as by heat welding. The front drum portion 252 is provided with an opening, not designated numerically, which is coaxial with longitudinal axis of the elongate hollow tube 222. The handle 218 attaches to the rear portion 254 to provide the driven member and is radially offset from the longitudinal axis 224 to facilitate manual rotation of the cable housing 214 about the longitudinal axis relative to the elongate hollow tube 222.

With reference to FIGS. 7 and 8, the feed mechanism 220 includes a trough-shaped base 272 having axially opposite ends and an actuator 274 that axially overlies the base and is pivotally interconnected with the base by a pin 276 that provides a pivot axis transverse to the longitudinal axis 224 and generally centrally between the opposite ends of the base. The base 272 and the actuator 274 can be made of metal or a suitable plastic such as, for example, a fiber filled polypropylene. The actuator 274 includes legs 278 and 280 extending in axially opposite directions relative to the pivot axis and at an angle to one another that allow the legs 278 and 280 to be alternately displaced toward base 272.

The feed mechanism 220 further includes first and second sets of drive rolls, respectively, that are axially spaced apart and on axially opposite sides of the pivot pin 276. In the embodiment illustrated in FIGS. 7-10, the first roll set includes a single roll 282a mounted on a wall in the base 272 and a pair of rolls 282b and 282c (FIG. 9) mounted on the first leg 278 of the actuator 274. The second roll set includes a single roll 284a mounted on a wall in the base 272 and a pair of rolls 284b and 284c mounted on the second leg 280 of the actuator. The rolls 282a, 282b and 282c of the first set are canted relative to the longitudinal axis 224 so as to drive the cable 216 in one direction relative to the feed mechanism when the rolls of first set engage about the cable 216 and the cable is rotated. The rolls 284a, 284b and 284c of the second set are canted in the opposite direction relative to the longitudinal axis 224 so that the cable 216 engaged between the rolls of the second roll set is driven in the opposite direction relative to the device in response to rotation of the cable 216 in the same rotational direction.

When the actuator is in the position shown in FIG. 7, the rolls of sets are spaced apart such that the cable 216 extending through the feed mechanism 220 is not axially displaced relative thereto in response to rotation of the cable. This is a neutral position of the feed mechanism. To displace the cable 216 outwardly from the feed mechanism 220, for example, an operator holding base 272 in the palm of his or her hand will depress the leg 278 of the actuator 274 toward the base 272, whereupon rolls 282b and 282c will displace the cable 216 into engagement with the roll 282a and the canting of the rolls will cause the cable to move axially out of the mechanism. The cable 216 can be driven in the opposite direction by displacing the leg 280 toward base 272, which movement displaces rolls 282b and 282c from the cable 216 and moves rolls 284b and 284c to engage the cable against roll 284a, whereupon the cable is axially displaced in the opposite axial direction. Further description of this example of a feed mechanism is described in U.S. Patent Application Pub. No. 2005/0193508.

While considerable emphasis has been placed herein on the structures and structural interrelationships between the component parts of above-described embodiments of the toilet auger, it will be appreciated that other embodiments as well as modifications of the above-described embodiments can be made without departing from the principals of the invention. In this respect, for example, it will be appreciated that the location of the feed mechanism and other controls for displacing the cable can be located in a number of different locations on the toilet auger. Additionally, it will be appreciated that components from one embodiment of the toilet auger can be used with another embodiment of the toilet auger, and vice versa. Accordingly, it is to be distinctly understood that the foregoing descriptive matter is to be interpreted merely illustrative of the invention and not as a limitation.