Title:
Telescoping Collapsible Bath Brush
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A collapsible bath brush is disclosed with a handle that collapses telescopically into the interior of the brush head, thereby making the brush more convenient, compact, and adaptable than other bath brushes. In preferred embodiments, the brush head includes bristles or a sponge, the handle includes at least three segments, and when extended, the handle is wide (at least one inch), long, and easy to hold. When the handle is collapsed, the brush head is a fully functional handle-free bath brush without protrusions that could interfere with washing. A securing mechanism prevents inadvertent collapse of the handle when extended, and in preferred embodiments a retaining mechanism prevents inadvertent extension of the handle when collapsed. The brush is easy to pack for travel, requiring no disassembly to achieve its smallest configuration. In preferred embodiments the brush has an open, horseshoe-shaped, easy-to-clean handle, and can be disassembled for thorough cleaning.



Inventors:
Habrle, Mark Andrew (Pewaukee, WI, US)
Application Number:
12/173855
Publication Date:
01/21/2010
Filing Date:
07/16/2008
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47L25/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
KARLS, SHAY LYNN
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MAIER & MAIER, PLLC (ALEXANDRIA, VA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A collapsible bathing brush, comprising: a brush head having a wash pad, the wash pad substantially covering one side of the brush head; a telescoping handle having a plurality of nestable handle segments, the telescoping handle being movable between an extended and a collapsed position, interconnected to the brush head, and collapsible into the interior of the brush head; and a securing mechanism for securing the telescoping handle in its extended position.

2. The collapsible bathing brush of claim 1, wherein the wash pad includes a plurality of bristles.

3. The collapsible bathing brush of claim 1, wherein the wash pad includes a sponge.

4. The collapsible bathing brush of claim 1, wherein the handle segments are individually detachable.

5. The collapsible bathing brush of claim 1, wherein the telescoping handle includes at least three handle segments.

6. The collapsible bathing brush of claim 1, wherein the handle segments are horseshoe-shaped in cross-section.

7. The collapsible bathing brush of claim 1, wherein the handle segments are round in cross section.

8. The collapsible bathing brush of claim 1, wherein the handle segments are at least one inch wide.

9. The collapsible bathing brush of claim 4, wherein the handle segments are at least one inch wide and are horseshoe-shaped in cross-section.

10. The collapsible bathing brush of claim 9, wherein the securing mechanism includes latches affixed to the handle segments.

11. The collapsible bathing brush of claim 1, wherein the securing mechanism includes buttons cooperative with the handle segments that fit into holes in adjacent handle segments.

12. The collapsible bathing brush of claim 11, wherein the securing mechanism includes protrusions in walls of the handle segments that nest into indentations in walls of adjoining segments when the handle is extended.

13. The collapsible bathing brush of claim 1, further comprising a retaining mechanism for retaining the handle in its collapsed position.

14. The collapsible bathing brush of claim 13, wherein the retaining mechanism for retaining the handle in its collapsed position includes catches recessed in grooves in the brush head, the catches being cooperatively engagable with notches on the distal end of the innermost handle segment.

15. The collapsible bathing brush of claim 13, wherein the retaining mechanism for retaining the handle in its collapsed position includes protrusions in walls of the handle segments that nest into indentations in walls of adjoining segments when the handle is collapsed.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The invention generally relates to bath brushes, and more particularly to bath brushes with collapsible handles.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Bath brushes have been used to wash the human body for hundreds of years. The standard bath brush consists of a plurality of bristles affixed to a compact brush head. Such brushes are designed for a person to wash (or sometimes massage) portions of the body that are easy to reach, but they are difficult to use for washing other body areas, like the back. Moreover, people who have limited mobility due to arthritis, stiffness, or other physical problems, sometimes have difficulty using these bath brushes to wash their feet, shoulders, or lower legs.

In consequence, back brushes have been developed. These typically comprise a brush affixed to an elongated handle. Although the elongated handle gives the bather greater reach, its length causes other problems.

For one thing, back brushes are difficult to use for washing “nearby” body areas, like a person's own arm, that are easy to wash using standard bath brushes. To wash such a nearby body area, the bather must either awkwardly choke up on the handle, which makes the brush difficult to manipulate, or hold the handle normally and stretch uncomfortably so that the bristles reach the body area to be washed.

Another problem with standard back brushes is that they require more space than ordinary bath brushes. This is a particular disadvantage for travelers. A back brush requires a suitcase or long carrying bag, which is awkward to carry. Yet, travelers have a particular need for back brushes, as they are often tired, dirty, or sweaty after a long trip. In addition, hotels often do not make back brushes available to guests, forcing travelers either to buy a new back brush when they arrive at their destination, or alternatively not to wash their backs at all.

Some bathers therefore use two different brushes: a standard brush suitable for reaching nearby body areas, and a back brush for reaching more remote areas. Using two different brushes, however, not only exacerbates the problem of packing the brushes, it also clutters the bather's bathtub or shower.

In view of the disadvantages of standard back brushes, the prior art has disclosed a number of attempts to develop a single bath brush that would combine the best features of standard bath brushes and of back brushes.

For example, the prior art has disclosed the use of a hinged handle, rather than a unitary handle, which allows for more compact storage of the back brush. Such hinged handles, however, have a number of disadvantages. A person's skin might be pinched in the hinge, a particular problem in the bath, where more skin is exposed. The hinges themselves are difficult to clean. And these handles are usually narrow or flat to accommodate the hinges, making them difficult to hold, particularly when the handle is slick with soapy water.

The prior art has also disclosed telescoping handles, which permit the user to shorten the handle while avoiding some of the disadvantages of hinged handles. Sometimes the handle is shortened by telescoping the handle itself, and sometimes by partially sliding the handle into the brush itself. Even with such foreshortened handles, however, these brushes are too long to be used comfortably and safely for washing nearby body areas, particularly by users with limited mobility.

Moreover, some of these brushes must be disassembled for travel, either by detaching the brush from the handle or by disassembling the handle. Such disassembly and reassembly are an inconvenience to the traveler, who risks losing a brush part. Such brushes also require a separate carrying case to hold the back brush parts. As with brushes using hinged handles, these brushes are frequently hard to clean or too narrow to hold comfortably.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

A collapsible bath brush is disclosed with a telescoping handle that can be extended from or retracted into the brush head. The brush is equally functional as a compact, standard bath brush and as a long-handled back brush. In its extended position, the bath brush has a comfortable handle that is suitable for a person to safely and conveniently wash his or her own back or, in the case of a person with mobility impairments, to wash other parts of his or her body. In its retracted position, the bath brush is usable not only as a comfortable bath brush—without awkward protruding handles—but also wastes little space compared to an ordinary non-extendible brush. In its collapsed position, the brush is therefore convenient to travel with, requiring neither disassembly by the user for packing nor reassembly after unpacking.

In some preferred embodiments the brush head contains bristles, and in other preferred embodiments the brush head contains a sponge. Any material suitable for washing or massaging the human body can similarly be attached to the brush head.

In certain preferred embodiments, the handle includes three or more handle segments. The more handle segments used, the smaller each individual handle segment may be without decreasing the length of the handle. Smaller handle segments in turn allows the handle to be retracted more compactly into the interior of the brush head, at the cost, however, of increased mechanical complexity and narrower innermost handle segments.

In some preferred embodiments, the handle is securely fastened in its extended position by latches that are affixed to each handle segment. In other preferred embodiments, the handle is securely fastened in its extended position by buttons or protrusions cooperative with the handle segments that fit into holes or indentations in adjacent handle segments. These fasteners ensure that the handle can be safely and comfortably used in its extended position without inadvertently collapsing. Moreover, these fasteners can be easily disengaged by the user in order to collapse the handle.

In various preferred embodiments, the handle segments that form the handle are horseshoe-shaped in cross-section, allowing them to be cleaned easily, minimizing rotation of the brush head in relation to the handle, decreasing materials cost, and, in some embodiments, increasing the space available for the bristles in the brush head. In other preferred embodiments, the handle segments are tubular, which provides a sturdy, easy-to-fabricate design. In each case, the handle segments are “nestable,” in that when the handle is collapsed the segments nest snugly within one another.

In preferred embodiments, the handle segments are at least one inch wide, and are about three inches in some preferred embodiments. This allows them to be grasped comfortably and securely even when they are slick with water and soap. Because the handle segments are wide and comfortable to use, they are also easy to use for individuals who have mobility impairments or loss of strength in their hands.

In certain preferred embodiments, the handle segments are designed to be individually detachable for easy cleaning. This minimizes not only the chance of dirt becoming lodged in a moving part or enclosed portion of the handle, but also the chance of bath water being retained in the handle, which could lead to the growth of bacteria and/or other harmful microorganisms.

In preferred embodiments, the handle segments can be secured in their collapsed position by the alignment of protrusions in the segments with indentations in adjoining segments, or by catches recessed in the walls of the brush head, which cooperatively engage with notches on the distal end of the innermost handle segment. These catches are useful when friction alone does not sufficiently secure the collapsed handle into the brush head, as for example when traveling, when the brush could be subject to substantial jostling.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1A is a perspective view of a preferred embodiment showing the brush in its extended configuration;

FIG. 1B is a perspective view of the preferred embodiment of FIG. 1A from an obverse angle;

FIG. 1C is a perspective view of the portion of FIG. 1A depicting the secure fastening mechanism for maintaining the handle in its extended configuration;

FIG. 2A is a perspective view of a preferred embodiment showing the brush in its collapsed configuration;

FIG. 2B is a perspective view of the preferred embodiment of FIG. 2A from an obverse angle;

FIG. 2C is a perspective view of the preferred embodiment of FIG. 2A depicting the retaining mechanism for retaining the handle in its collapsed position;

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of the brush head of a preferred embodiment showing a sponge installed in the wash pad;

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of a preferred embodiment showing the brush in its disassembled state;

FIG. 5A is a perspective view of a preferred embodiment showing a brush in its extended configuration with tubular handle segments and annular protrusions for retaining the handle in its extended configuration;

FIG. 5B is a perspective view of the preferred embodiment of FIG. 5A from an obverse angle;

FIG. 6A is a perspective view of a preferred embodiment in which the secure fastening mechanism includes side protrusions for retaining the handle in its extended configuration;

FIG. 6B is a perspective view of the preferred embodiment of FIG. 6A from an obverse angle;

FIG. 6C is a perspective, close-up view depicting the secure fastening mechanism depicted in FIG. 6A for retaining the handle in its extended configuration;

FIG. 7A is a perspective view of a preferred embodiment with a graspable protrusion included in the brush head, illustrated with the handle collapsed;

FIG. 7B is a perspective view of the preferred embodiment of FIG. 7A, illustrated with the handle extended;

FIG. 7C is a side view of the preferred embodiment of FIG. 7A, illustrated with the handle collapsed; and

FIG. 7D is a side view of the preferred embodiment of FIG. 7A, illustrated with the handle extended;

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

With reference to FIG. 1A, the collapsible brush 100 of the present invention includes a brush head 102 with a wash pad 104 that substantially covers one side of the brush head 102, and a telescoping handle 108 that includes a plurality of nestable handle segments 110. The telescoping handle is movable between an extended position, as shown in FIG. 1A, and a collapsed position, wherein it is contained within the interior of the brush head. A securing mechanism 112 is also included for securing the telescoping handle in its extended position.

The embodiment of FIG. 1A includes three handle segments that are maintained in the extended position by latches 112 that press against the ends of preceding segments so as to prevent the segments from collapsing into each other. The distal handle segment 110 is capped with a flange 114 containing notches 116 that engage with catches 118 recessed in the walls of the brush head 102 when the brush is in its collapsed position.

In preferred embodiments, each handle segment 110 is between 4 inches and 6 inches long, between 1 inch and 4 inches wide, the distal handle segment being the narrowest and the proximal handle segment being the widest of the handle segments. These wide widths are preferred so that a user can hold the handle 108 more comfortably and securely than he or she could hold a narrower handle, especially if the handle becomes slick with water or soap during use, and/or if the user has hand or wrist strength impairments. The horseshoe cross-section of the handle segments 110 in the embodiment of FIG. 1A has the additional advantages that it is easy to clean as well as inhibiting rotation of the handle segments 110 in relation to each other and to the brush head 102.

One side of the brush head 102 is a wash pad 104 to which may be affixed bristles 106, as shown in FIG. 1A, or other like materials that can be used to wash or to massage the human body. The interior of the brush head is substantially hollow so as to accommodate the collapsed handle.

FIG. 1B is a perspective view of the embodiment of FIG. 1A from a different perspective, and FIG. 1C is a close-up view of the latch assembly of FIG. 1A.

In its collapsed position the handle retracts into the interior of the brush head 102. This is shown from two different perspectives in FIG. 2A and FIG. 2B. As can be seen in FIG. 2C and FIG. 2D, the handle is secured in its collapsed position in this embodiment by means of notches 116 on the flange 114 at the end of the distal handle segment 110, these notches being able to engage with catches 118 in the walls of the brush head 102. When in the collapsed position the brush 100 can be used with its wash pad 104 and bristles 106 as an ordinary compact bath brush, as there are no unnecessary protrusions from the brush head that would make the brush awkward to use. Moreover, the brush 100 can also be packed conveniently for travel in its collapsed configuration without disassembly.

FIG. 3 depicts a preferred embodiment in which a sponge 300 is affixed to the wash pad 104 on top of the brush head 102. The sponge may be removed and replaced as necessary.

FIG. 4 illustrates the preferred embodiment of FIG. 1 in its disassembled state. The handle 108 is easily disassembled by pulling the handle segments 110 of the handle 108 apart from each other and from the brush head 102. This disassembly feature ensures that the handle and brush head can be safely and completely cleaned when necessary.

FIG. 5A depicts a preferred embodiment similar to the embodiment of FIG. 1A, FIG. 1B, and FIG. 1C, except that the handle segments 110 are round in cross-section instead of horseshoe-shaped, and the securing mechanism that maintains the handle in its extended position consists of annular indentations 500 on the outer surfaces of the handle segments 110 and corresponding annular protrusions on the inner surfaces of the handle segments 110 and in the brush head, whereby the protrusions and indentations nest into each other when the handle 108 is extended and maintain the handle 108 in its extended configuration. FIG. 5B shows the embodiment of FIG. 5A from a different perspective.

FIG. 6A depicts another preferred embodiment which is similar to the embodiment of FIGS. 1A-C except that the securing mechanism that maintains the handle in its extended position uses protrusions 600 on the side surfaces of the handle segments 110 that nest into indentations in the side surfaces of adjoining handle segments 604. When the handle 108 is extended, the protrusions 600 nest into indentations 602 in adjacent handle segments or in the brush head 102. FIG. 6B shows the embodiment of FIG. 6A from a different perspective, and FIG. 6C is a close-up view of the securing mechanism of FIG. 6A and FIG. 6B. In other embodiments, similar protrusions and indentations are used to maintain the handle in its collapsed configuration.

FIG. 7A is a perspective view of yet another preferred embodiment in which a graspable protrusion 700 is included in the brush head 102 including indentations 702 that allow the brush head 102 to be easily grasped and used as a bath brush when the handle 108 is collapsed. FIG. 7B illustrates this embodiment with the handle 108 extended, and FIG. 7C and FIG. 7D present side views of the same embodiment with the handle 108 collapsed, and extended, respectively.

Other modifications and implementations will occur to those skilled in the art without departing from the spirit and the scope of the invention as claimed. Accordingly, the above description is not intended to limit the invention except as indicated in the following claims.