Title:
GRILL CLEANING UTENSIL
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A cleaning utensil is disclosed having a housing comprised of a cleaning portion and a handle portion. The housing has a reservoir and a pump. The reservoir is adapted to contain a fluid. The cleaning portion has a scrubbing surface and an orifice, and the handle portion has an actuator. The pump communicates with the reservoir, the orifice, and the actuator; whereby actuation of the actuator causes the fluid to be drawn from the reservoir and exhausted from the orifice by the pump. The orifice is arranged and adapted to cause the fluid to be exhausted forwardly from the cleaning portion. A bristled scrubbing element is removably affixable to the cleaning portion and has a scrubbing surface extending up first and second opposite side surfaces of the cleaning portion and across a bottom surface of the cleaning portion from the first side to the second side.



Inventors:
Ashworth, Robert Scott (Littleton, MA, US)
Wong, Wing Sun (Ashland, MA, US)
Kahn, Kris David (Boston, MA, US)
Kei, Chan Siu (San Francisco, CA, US)
Application Number:
12/480856
Publication Date:
03/18/2010
Filing Date:
06/09/2009
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47L13/10
View Patent Images:
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20060177257Elongated containerAugust, 2006Tsaur
20080317543Spot cleaning dispenserDecember, 2008Jackson et al.
20080219751Toothbrush with toothpaste in handleSeptember, 2008Teitelbaum
20080014012ROTARY APPLICATOR FOR COSMETIC PRODUCTJanuary, 2008Le Guenic et al.
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20060198689Vented mascara wiperSeptember, 2006Neuner et al.



Primary Examiner:
CHIANG, JENNIFER C
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
FRANCIS EDWARD MARINO (MEREDITH, NH, US)
Claims:
We claim:

1. A cleaning utensil comprising: a housing comprising a cleaning portion, a handle portion, a reservoir, and a pump, the reservoir adapted to contain a fluid, the cleaning portion having a scrubbing surface and an orifice, and the handle portion having an actuator; the pump fluidly communicating with the reservoir, the orifice, and the actuator; whereby actuation of the actuator forces the fluid to be drawn from the reservoir and sprayed from the orifice by the pump.

2. The utensil of claim 1 wherein the housing is elongate with the handle portion disposed rearwardly thereon and the cleaning portion disposed forwardly of the handle portion, and wherein the orifice is disposed substantially forward-most on the cleaning portion and arranged and adapted to cause the fluid to be exhausted forwardly from the cleaning portion.

3. The utensil of claim 2 wherein the pump comprises a piston in cooperation with and movable relative to a cylinder to form a fluid compartment having a changeable compartment volume, and the changeable compartment volume is filled with fluid drawn from the reservoir as the changeable volume expands, and wherein the handle portion comprises a linkage connecting the actuator to the piston, and wherein actuation of the actuator forces the piston into the cylinder to reduce the changeable compartment volume and thereby force the fluid therein from the orifice.

4. The utensil of claim 3 wherein the pump and cylinder are biased towards an expanded volume state.

5. The utensil of claim 4 wherein the pump and cylinder are biased towards the expanded volume state by a spring, and wherein said spring further biases the actuator through the linkage to an unactuated state.

6. The utensil of claim 5 further comprising a check valve fluidly disposed between the reservoir and the pump and adapted to prevent backdraw of fluid from the pump to the reservoir.

7. The utensil of claim 6 wherein the orifice is further arranged and adapted to cause the fluid to be exhausted forwardly from the cleaning portion in a forwardly expanding fan-shaped mist.

8. A cleaning utensil comprising: a housing comprising a cleaning portion and a handle portion, the cleaning portion being disposed forwardly of the handle portion; the housing having a reservoir adapted to contain a fluid; the cleaning portion having a scrubbing surface and an orifice; wherein the housing has a filling port disposed approximate the cleaning portion for enabling the fluid to be added to the reservoir there-through.

9. The utensil of claim 9 wherein the housing further comprises a pump, and the handle portion comprises an actuator; and wherein the pump fluidly communicates with the reservoir, the orifice, and the actuator; whereby actuation of the actuator forces the fluid to be drawn from the reservoir and sprayed from the orifice by the pump.

10. The utensil of claim 9 wherein the housing is elongate with the handle portion disposed rearwardly thereon and the cleaning portion disposed forwardly of the handle portion, and wherein the orifice is disposed substantially forward-most on the cleaning portion and arranged and adapted to cause the fluid to be exhausted forwardly from the cleaning portion.

11. The utensil of claim 10 wherein the pump comprises a piston in cooperation with and movable relative to a cylinder to form a fluid compartment having a changeable compartment volume, and the changeable compartment volume is filled with fluid drawn from the reservoir as the changeable volume expands, and wherein the handle portion comprises a linkage connecting the actuator to the piston, and wherein actuation of the actuator forces the piston into the cylinder to reduce the changeable compartment volume and thereby force the fluid therein from the orifice.

12. The utensil of claim 11 wherein the pump and cylinder are biased towards an expanded volume state.

13. The utensil of claim 12 wherein the pump and cylinder are biased towards the expanded volume state by a spring, and wherein said spring further biases the actuator through the linkage to an unactuated state.

14. The utensil of claim 13 further comprising a check valve fluidly disposed between the reservoir and the pump and adapted to prevent backdraw of fluid from the pump to the reservoir.

15. The utensil of claim 14 wherein the orifice is further arranged and adapted to cause the fluid to be exhausted forwardly from the cleaning portion in a forwardly expanding fan-shaped mist.

16. A cleaning utensil comprising: a housing having a cleaning portion at a forward end and a handle portion at a rearward end; a scrubbing element removably affixable to the cleaning portion and having a scrubbing surface extending up first and second opposite side surfaces of the cleaning portion and across a bottom surface of the cleaning portion from the first side to the second side.

17. The utensil of claim 16 wherein the scrubbing element comprises a female dovetail taper and a first connector portion and the cleaning portion comprises a male dovetail taper and a second connector portion; and wherein the female dovetail taper is matingly received by the male dovetail taper to secure the scrubbing element to the cleaning head in a side-to-side direction, and the first connector portion is matingly received by the second connector portion to secure the scrubbing element to the cleaning head in a forward-rearward direction.

18. The utensil of claim 17 wherein the female and male dovetail tapers are compound dovetail tapers, matingly tapering inward in an upward direction to secure the bristled scrubbing element to the cleaning head in upward-downward direction.

19. The utensil of claim 18 wherein the housing has a reservoir adapted to contain a fluid and the cleaning portion has an orifice communicating with the reservoir and adapted to allow the fluid to be drawn from the reservoir and exhausted there-through; wherein the orifice is disposed apart from of the scrubbing element.

20. The utensil of claim 19 wherein the housing has a filling port disposed approximate the cleaning portion for enabling the fluid to be added to the reservoir there-through; the housing further comprises a pump; and the handle portion comprises an actuator; and wherein the pump fluidly communicates with the reservoir, the orifice, and the actuator; whereby actuation of the actuator forces the fluid to be drawn from the reservoir and sprayed from the orifice by the pump.

Description:

RELATED APPLICATION

This application is a Continuation of, and claims the benefit of, pending U.S. Provisional application Ser. No. 61/098,028, filed Sep. 18, 2008, the entire teachings of which are incorporated herein by reference.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is related to grilling and to the cleaning of cooking grills. More specifically, this invention is related to utensils for cleaning the cooking surface of a grill.

BACKGROUND

Brushes and other utensils for scrubbing clean a grilling surface are well known, but include numerous drawbacks and disadvantages, including failures of convenience and function. Existing utensils have proven to be either difficult to use, complicated and prone to failure, ineffective, or some combination of these failings.

There exists a need for improvement in the function and convenience of grill-cleaning utensils, and such is an object of the present invention. There exists a need for a grill cleaning utensil that employs a combination is scrubbing and steam to remove residues from the grill, and such is an object of the present invention.

There exists a need for such a utensil that uses the heat of the grill to create the steam from water so that heating means are not required in the utensil, and such is an object of the present invention. There exists a need for such a utensil having means for forcefully spraying water on demand to the grill, and such is an object of the present invention.

There exists a need for such a utensil having an effective mechanism for evenly applying the water to the grill, and such is an object of the present invention. There exists a need for such a utensil having an effective mechanism for applying the water to the grill in a controlled pattern to apply the water only where needed, and such is an object of the present invention.

There exists a need for such a utensil providing effective application of the steam in a manner that eases removal of the residue, and such is an object of the present invention. There exists a need for such a utensil that receives and contains the water and applies it only upon activation by the user, and such is an object of the present invention.

There exists a need for such a utensil which may be conveniently filled with water and cleaned at the tap without wetting the user's hands, and such is an object of the present invention. There exists a need for such a utensil which has a scrubbing surface that extends around the sides and bottom of the scrubbing end of the utensil to improve scrubbing efficacy, and such is an object of the present invention.

There exists a need for such a utensil which has a scrubbing surface that is easily removed and replaced, and such is an object of the present invention.

Further needs and objects exist which are addressed by the present invention, as may become apparent by the included disclosure of a exemplary embodiments thereof.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The invention may be embodied as a cleaning utensil comprising a housing comprising a cleaning portion and a handle portion. The housing having a reservoir and a pump. The reservoir adapted to contain a fluid. The cleaning portion having a scrubbing surface and an orifice. And the handle portion having an actuator.

The pump may communicate with the reservoir, the orifice, and the actuator; whereby actuation of the actuator causes the fluid to be drawn from the reservoir and exhausted from the orifice by the pump.

The cleaning portion may be disposed forwardly of the handle portion, and the orifice may be arranged and adapted to cause the fluid to be exhausted forwardly from the cleaning portion.

The orifice may be further arranged and adapted to cause the fluid to be exhausted forwardly from the cleaning portion in a forwardly expanding fan-shaped mist.

The invention may also be embodied as a cleaning utensil comprising a housing having a cleaning portion and a handle portion, the cleaning portion being disposed forwardly of the handle portion, where the housing has a reservoir adapted to contain a fluid, the cleaning portion has a scrubbing surface and an orifice, and wherein the housing has a filling port disposed approximate the cleaning portion for enabling the fluid to be added to the reservoir there-through.

The cleaning portion may further comprise an orifice, and the utensil may further comprise means for exhausting the fluid from the reservoir through the orifice forwardly from the cleaning portion. The orifice may be arranged and adapted to cause the fluid to be exhausted forwardly from the cleaning portion in a forwardly expanding fan-shaped mist.

The invention may also be embodied as a cleaning utensil comprising a housing having a cleaning portion at a forward end and a handle portion at a rearward end with a bristled scrubbing element removably affixable to the cleaning portion and having a scrubbing surface extending up first and second opposite side surfaces of the cleaning portion and across a bottom surface of the cleaning portion from the first side to the second side.

The bristled scrubbing element may comprise a female dovetail taper and a first connector portion and the cleaning portion may comprise a male dovetail taper and a second connector portion, wherein the female dovetail taper is matingly received by the male dovetail taper to secure the bristled scrubbing element to the cleaning head in a side-to-side direction, and the first connector portion is matingly received by the second connector portion to secure the bristled scrubbing element to the cleaning head in a forward-rearward direction.

The female and male dovetail tapers may be compound dovetail tapers, matingly tapering inward in an upward direction to secure the bristled scrubbing element to the cleaning head in upward-downward direction.

The housing may have a reservoir adapted to contain a fluid and the cleaning portion may have an orifice communicating with the reservoir and adapted to allow the fluid to be drawn from the reservoir and exhausted there-through, wherein the orifice is disposed independently of the scrubbing element.

Further features and aspects of the invention are disclosed with more specificity in the Detailed Description and Drawings of an exemplary embodiment provided herein.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Many aspects of the invention can be better understood with reference to the following drawings showing the representative embodiment of a brush in accordance with the invention. The components in the drawings are not necessarily to scale, emphasis instead being placed upon clearly illustrating the principles of the invention. Moreover, in the drawings, like reference numerals designate corresponding parts throughout the several views and embodiments.

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a grill cleaning brush according to a first exemplary embodiment of the invention during use scrubbing the surface of a barbecue grill;

FIG. 2 is a partial perspective view of the brush of FIG. 1 with its bristled scrubbing element removed;

FIG. 3 is a partial perspective view of a brush according to a second exemplary embodiment of the invention with its bristled scrubbing element removed;

FIG. 4 is a partial rear perspective view of the brush of FIG. 3;

FIG. 5 is a partial cross-sectional view of the brush of FIG. 3, which is identical to such a view of the brush of FIG. 1;

FIG. 6 is a partial perspective view of a brush according to a third exemplary embodiment of the invention with its bristled scrubbing element removed;

FIG. 7 is a partial cross-sectional view of the brush of FIG. 6;

FIG. 8A is a partial side cross-sectional view through the brush of FIG. 1, which is identical to such a view of the brushes of FIGS. 3 and 6;

FIG. 8B is a partial side cross-sectional view through the brush of FIG. 8A with its reservoir being filled with water;

FIG. 9A is a full cross-sectional view through the brush of FIG. 1, which is identical to such a view of the brushes of FIGS. 3 and 6;

FIG. 9B is a full cross-sectional view through the brush of FIG. 9 during water spraying; and FIG. 10 is a partial rear perspective view of the brush of FIG. 3, having its bristled scrubbing element replaced by an abrasive scrubbing element.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF EXEMPLARY EMBODIMENTS

Exemplary grill cleaning brushes according to the invention are shown in FIGS. 1 through 10. Such examples are merely meant to teach several of the many ways to practice the invention, but are not meant to limit the invention thereto.

Referring to FIGS. 1, 2, and 8A to 9B, brush 100 has a handle portion 102 and a cleaning portion 104. The handle portion and cleaning portion are formed integrally within a housing 114. Handle portion 102 has an elongate shape for grasping by a user, and is disposed at the rearward end of the brush. Cleaning portion 104 is disposed at the forward end of the brush and comprises a scrubbing element, removably affixed to the housing 114. The scrubbing element may take the form of a bristled brush head 112, as shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, an abrasive pad, or any other equivalent.

Housing 114 forms a hollow interior chamber comprised of two main portions, reservoir chamber 116 within the cleaning portion 104, and pump/actuator portion 118 within handle portion 102.

Scraper blade 122 projects forwardly from the cleaning portion for especially scraping hard-to-scrub residues. The scraper blade is permanently captured to the housing, or may be replaceably attached by screws or such.

Hollow reservoir 124 is shaped to fit within the reservoir chamber and is preferably blow molded and adapted to hold a desired quantity of fluid 900. The reservoir 124 is fillable with the fluid through a fluid intake port 126 positioned atop the cleaning portion end of housing 114. Intake port lid 128 is preferably affixed to the intake port 126 by an integrally molded flexible connection 132. As seen in FIG. 8B, when lid 128 is opened and port 126 is positioned under a spigot 906, the fluid 900, such as water, may be poured through the port 126 and stored within the reservoir 124, without getting the handle portion of the brush wet.

Protruding from the top of the handle portion end of housing is an actuator 134, positioned at the expected location of the thumb 802 of a user's grasping hand 800. The actuator is biased such that it is normally in the upwardly extended position depicted in FIG. 9A. The actuator is easily and conveniently pressed downwards by thumb 802, with-out altering the user's grasp, into the position depicted in FIG. 9B.

Referring to FIGS. 9A and 9B, during the forced downward motion of actuator 134 from the normal upward position of FIG. 9A to the downward position of FIG. 9B, fluid 900 from the reservoir is forced to squirt or spray from orifice 136, positioned on the front of nozzle 108, which is disposed at the front face 142 of cleaning portion 104. Fluid 900 exits the orifice above and separated from the removable bristled scrubbing element 112, as a forwardly-directed mist 902 preferably having a flat horizontal forwardly-expanding fan shape.

The forcing of fluid 900 from the reservoir 124 is accomplished via a pump 138, a mechanism for mechanically connecting the pump to the actuator, and a fluid-handling system for fluid communication between the reservoir, pump, and orifice.

As shown in FIGS. 8A through 9B, actuator 134 is pivotably connected to the rearward end of actuator link 146 such that the link is forced rearwardly as the actuator is pushed downwardly. The forward end of actuator link 146 is fixed to pump piston 148, which is slidable forwardly-rearwardly within pump cylinder 152 so that as the actuator 134 is pushed downwardly and the actuator link 146 is forced rearwardly, the pump piston 148 is pulled into the pump cylinder 152.

Referring to FIG. 8A, it can be seen that pump cylinder 152 and pump piston 148 cooperate to form a pump chamber 154 which is altered in volume according to the relative positions of the piston and cylinder. The chamber becomes filled with fluid 900 as the reservoir 124 is filled, by communication between the reservoir and chamber through pump feed tube 156. Ball check valve 158 prevents the inadvertent backflow of fluid from the pump chamber back into the reservoir.

As the piston is pulled rearwardly during depression of actuator 134, the volume of chamber 154 is reduced and the fluid therein, unable to return to the reservoir due to the ball check valve, is forced though nozzle conduit 162 to nozzle 108, and exists through orifice 136 as a forwardly directed mist 902.

Compression spring 164 is disposed within pump chamber 154 and acts to extend the piston 148 forwardly when downward force is removed form the actuator 134 to expand the volume of chamber 154, drawing more fluid there-into from reservoir 124. The spring also acts through the piston and actuator link 146 to force the actuator back into its normal upward position, ready for a repeat of the spraying process.

Another aspect of the invention lies in the removable affixation means of the scrubbing element to the housing 114, as best appreciated from viewing FIG. 2. It can be seen that the underside of the forward end of housing portion 104 is shaped in a forward-narrowing and upward-narrowing compound male taper. The rearward end of bristled scrubbing element 112 is opened into a mating forward-narrowing and upward-narrowing compound female taper, such that the male taper of the housing base is insertable into the female taper of the bristled scrubbing element to secure the bristled scrubbing element to the housing in the side to side, up-down, and rearward directions.

The mating of the forward-narrowing shapes of the dovetails secure the bristled scrubbing element to the housing in the side-to-side direction, preventing relative side to side movement between the two while preventing the scrubbing head from moving more rearwardly relative to the housing. And the upward-narrowing shapes of the dovetails prevent the scrubbing head from moving downwardly off of the housing.

Flexible member 166 of the bristled scrubbing element is forced downwardly as the bristled scrubbing element is slid rearwardly onto the housing portion 104 snaps back up so that its connector pawls 168 grasp the pawl receivers 172 at the rearward end of the cleaning potion of the housing as the bristled scrubbing element and housing base reach the properly mated relative positions. Manual depression of the flexible member 166 disengages the pawls from the pawl receivers and allows removal of the bristled scrubbing element by sliding it forwardly relative to the housing.

A second brush and scrubbing element arrangement is shown on FIGS. 3 though 5, which differs from the first embodiment only in the construction of the flexible member 266 form the flexible member 166 of the first embodiment, and in the features related thereto. Like 200-series item numbering is used in FIGS. 3-5 to designate relevant features of this second embodiment as those 100-series numbers used to designate equivalent features of the first embodiment.

A third brush and scrubbing element arrangement is shown on FIGS. 6 and 7, which differs from the first and second embodiments only in the attachment of scrubbing element 312 to cleaning portion 304. Sideways-acting flexible clip 366 on the side of cleaning portion 304 is forced inwardly against the housing as element 312 is attached, then springs outwardly by its outward bias to grasp feature 372 of the element and secure it to the housing. Clip 166 can then be forced inwardly to allow removal and replacement of the element. Like 300-series item numbering is used in FIGS. 6 and 7 to designate relevant features of this third embodiment as those 100-series and 200-series numbers used to designate equivalent features of the first and embodiments, respectively.

FIG. 10 shows an alternate scrubbing element in the form of abrasive pad 412 attached to the brush 200 of the second embodiment.

In summary, it can be seen from the above-described exemplary embodiments that the invention may be experienced in the form of a cleaning utensil having a housing comprised of a cleaning portion and a handle portion. The housing may have a reservoir and a pump. The reservoir may be adapted to contain a fluid. The cleaning portion may have a scrubbing surface and an orifice. And the handle portion may have an actuator.

The pump may communicate with the reservoir, the orifice, and the actuator; whereby actuation of the actuator causes the fluid to be drawn from the reservoir and exhausted from the orifice by the pump. The cleaning portion may be disposed forwardly of the handle portion, and the orifice may be arranged and adapted to cause the fluid to be exhausted forwardly from the cleaning portion.

The orifice may be further arranged and adapted to cause the fluid to be exhausted forwardly from the cleaning portion in a forwardly expanding fan-shaped mist.

The invention may also be experienced in the form of a cleaning utensil having a housing comprising a cleaning portion and a handle portion. The cleaning portion may be disposed forwardly of the handle portion. The housing may have a reservoir adapted to contain a fluid. The cleaning portion may have a scrubbing surface and an orifice, and the housing may have a filling port disposed approximate the cleaning portion for enabling the fluid to be added to the reservoir there-through.

The cleaning portion of this utensil may further comprise an orifice, and this utensil may further comprise means for exhausting the fluid from the reservoir through the orifice forwardly from the cleaning portion. The orifice may be arranged and adapted to cause the fluid to be exhausted forwardly from the cleaning portion in a forwardly expanding fan-shaped mist.

The invention may also be experienced in the form of a cleaning utensil having a cleaning portion at a forward end and a handle portion at a rearward end, and a bristled scrubbing element removably affixable to the cleaning portion and having a scrubbing surface extending up first and second opposite side surfaces of the cleaning portion and across a bottom surface of the cleaning portion from the first side to the second side. The bristled scrubbing element may comprise a female dovetail taper and a first connector portion and the cleaning portion may comprise a male dovetail taper and a second connector portion. The female dovetail taper may be matingly received by the male dovetail taper to secure the bristled scrubbing element to the cleaning head in a side-to-side direction, and the first connector portion may be matingly received by the second connector portion to secure the bristled scrubbing element to the cleaning head in a forward-rearward direction.

The female and male dovetail tapers maybe compound dovetail tapers, matingly tapering inward in an upward direction to secure the bristled scrubbing element to the cleaning head in upward-downward direction. This housing of this utensil may have a reservoir adapted to contain a fluid and the cleaning portion may have an orifice communicating with the reservoir and adapted to allow the fluid to be drawn from the reservoir and exhausted there-through; wherein the orifice is disposed independently of the scrubbing element.

Various changes in form and detail may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention, so the invention should therefore only be by the following claims, including all equivalent interpretation to which they are entitled.