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Title:
APPARATUS FOR CLEANING COSMETIC BRUSHES
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2019/135855
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
Apparatus for cleaning and drying at least one plural cosmetic brush having a handle from which a plurality of bristles projects outward is provided. The apparatus includes a housing, a support member, a fan, and a wiping member. The support member is configured for supporting the handle of at least one cosmetic brush with the bristles of the brush located within a drying space into which a stream of air from the fan is directed. The wiping member sweeps across the bristles to cause them to separate, whereupon the air stream reaches between them blow any debris on the bristles off of the bristles and to dry any moisture or wetness on the bristles if there is any such moisture or wetness on the bristles.

Inventors:
CHILDS, Daniel, K. (106 Portofino Drive, Nokomis, Florida, 34275, US)
HICKS, Tunesha (1416 Chase Lane, Irving, Texas, 75063, US)
BÄCKSTRÖM, Mikael, Rolf (1731 West Ellen Street, Chicago, Illinois, 60622, US)
Application Number:
US2018/064390
Publication Date:
July 11, 2019
Filing Date:
December 07, 2018
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
MOD INNOVATION, LLC (8501 N. MacArthur Blvd, Suite 631064Irving, Texas, 75063, US)
International Classes:
A46B17/06; B08B3/04; B08B5/00; B08B7/02
Domestic Patent References:
WO2016149134A22016-09-22
WO2004017790A12004-03-04
Foreign References:
US20170119145A12017-05-04
US20020050280A12002-05-02
US9380860B12016-07-05
US20150313354A12015-11-05
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
STEIN, Barry, A. (CAESAR RIVISE, PC7 Penn Centerm 12th Floor,1635 Market Stree, Philadelphia Pennsylvania, 19103, US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
the brushes have been cleaned and dried, they can be removed from the brush support section 222C and the covers 222D reclosed to bring the apparatus back to the state shown in Fig. 23A. If desired the tray may be withdrawn from the base section to empty any cleaning solution within the tray.

The electrical circuitry of the apparatus 220 is located within the interior of the housing and includes an actuator switch or button 272 forming a portion of an operational display panel 274, and an electronic timer (not shown). The electrical circuitry is configured to initiate operation of the motors 228 and 230, upon the actuation, e.g., depression, of the actuator button 272 by a user of the apparatus 220. The electronic timer is configured to automatically halt the electric power to the motors 228 and 230 a predetermined time after the initiation of operation of those motors, i.e., the depression of the actuator button. The predetermined time is selected to be sufficiently long to enable the complete cleaning and drying of the bristles of the brushes. The operational display panel 274 is connected to the electronic timer and includes plural LEDs 276 which sequentially turn on or off to provide a visual indication of the progress of the cleaning and drying operation. For example, the display can be configured so that when the cleaning operation begins by the depression of the button 272 all the LEDs turn on. As the cleaning and drying operation progresses, the LEDs turn off in sequence, whereupon when the timer times out to halt the operation of the motors, all of the LEDs will be off.

It must be pointed out at this juncture that while the exemplary embodiments of the invention as described above make use of housings that include openings to the ambient surroundings through which the blown-off debris from the brushes may exit, it is contemplated that apparatus constructed in accordance with this invention may incorporate a housing having some internal space for trapping debris blown off the brushes. Moreover, many other modifications can be made to the structure of the apparatus of this invention, providing that there will be relative reciprocating or sweeping movement between the wiping member and the brush heads while a drying air stream is directed through spaces between blades of the wiping member.

Without further elaboration the foregoing will so fully illustrate our invention that others may, by applying current or future knowledge, adopt the same for use under various conditions of service. CLAIMS

We claim:

1. Apparatus for cleaning a cosmetic brush, the cosmetic brush including a handle from which a brush-head, comprising a plurality of bristles projects outward, the bristles having a free end, said apparatus comprising:

a housing comprising a drying space

a support member configured for supporting the handle of at least one cosmetic brush therein, whereupon the bristles of the brush are located within said drying space;

a fan configured for introducing a stream of air into said drying space; and a wiping member, said wiping member and said support member being configured to move with respect to each other to cause said wiping member to sweep across the bristles of the brush to cause the bristles to separate, whereupon air from said fan can reach between the bristles to blow any debris off of the bristles and to dry any moisture or wetness on the bristles if there is any such moisture or wetness on the bristles.

2. The apparatus of Claim 1 wherein said wiping member comprises an oscillating member located adjacent said drying space and configured for sweeping across the bristles of the brush.

3. The apparatus of Claim 2 wherein said wiping member comprises plural blades separated from one another by respective air gaps between said blades.

4. The apparatus of Claim 3 wherein said wiping member is located within said stream of air.

5. The apparatus of Claim 4 wherein said fan comprises a rotating member having plural vanes, said rotating member being mounted for rotation about an axis within a shroud to produce the stream of air.

6. The apparatus of Claim 5 wherein said shroud includes an outlet opening through which said stream of air passes and wherein said wiping member is located over said outlet opening, whereupon said stream of air can flow through said air gaps between said blades.

7. The apparatus of Claim 6 wherein said shroud is stationarily mounted within said housing and wherein said wiping member is mounted for movement with respect to said shroud, said wiping member being configured to be reciprocated by a motor to cause said wiping member to sweep said blades across the bristles of the brush.

8. The apparatus of Claim 1, wherein said support member comprises plural openings, each of which is configured to receive and support a respective cosmetic brush therein.

9. The apparatus of Claim 8 wherein said support member is pivotable from a loading/unloading position to a cleaning position and vice versa, said support member when in said loading/unloading position being oriented such that the handles of the brushes received within said plural openings extend parallel to said wiping member, said support member when in said cleaning position being oriented such that the handles of the brushes extend at an angle to said wiping member with the bristles of the brushes in engagement with said wiping member.

10. The apparatus of Claim 9, wherein each of said plural openings includes a periphery and a plurality of resilient fingers extending inward from said periphery.

11. The apparatus of Claim 1, wherein said apparatus additionally comprising an openable/closable cover configured for extending over and covering said support member and said drying space.

12. The apparatus of Claim 11, wherein said cover comprises a pair of cover sections, each of which is pivotably connected to said housing.

13. The apparatus of Claim 1, additionally an actuator for initiating the operation of the apparatus to cause said fan and said wiping member to begin operation, and a timer for automatically turning off said fan and wiping member after a predetermined period of time has elapsed.

14. The apparatus of Claim 13, additionally comprising a visual display member configured to provide an indication of the amount of time remaining before said time turns said fan and said wiping member off.

15. The apparatus of Claim 1, wherein said housing includes a tray including a ridged member configured to receive a cleaning solution on said ridged member, whereupon the bristles of said brush may be wetted with the cleaning solution and

Description:
APPARATUS FOR CLEANING COSMETIC BRUSHES

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This PCT application claims the benefit under 35 ET.S.C. §119(e) of ETnited States Patent Application Serial No. 62/614,585, filed on January 8, 2018, entitled Apparatus For Cleaning Cosmetic Brushes, and also claims priority under 35 ET.S.C. §120 of ETnited States Patent Application Serial No. 15/954,189 filed on April 16, 2018, also entitled Apparatus For Cleaning Cosmetic Brushes, which in turn claims priority under 35 ET.S.C. §119(e) of Application Serial No. 62/614,585, filed on January 8, 2018, and all of whose entire disclosures are incorporated by reference herein.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates generally to cleaning apparatus and more particularly to apparatus for cleaning cosmetic brushes.

SPECIFICATION BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Cosmetic brushes, also known as makeup brushes, are commonly used to apply makeup and other cosmetic products by users. Most of such brushes include a brush-head composed of a multitude of bristles. After use, particularly extended use, the bristles of the brush tend to accumulate residue from the make-up (cosmetic products), particularly in the interstices between the bristles or on the surface of the bristles. Not only is this build-up of make-up residue on the bristles potentially unsanitary, but can also make further effective use of the brush to apply additional make-up less effective. As such makeup brushes need to be cleaned periodically. Such action is not only desirable from a hygienic standpoint, but also from an economic standpoint, since it has the tendency to prolong the life of the brush’s bristles.

The cleaning of make-up brushes can be accomplished in a variety of ways. For example, the user may use a commercial liquid makeup brush cleanser or using soap and water on the bristles to work the cleaning liquid cleanser deep into the bristles, thereafter rinsing the bristles and wiping the brush-head against a paper or cloth towel. Needless to say, such action can be time consuming and tedious. The patent literature includes various patents disclosing devices that can be used to mechanically clean makeup brushes. Examples of such patents/published patent applications are: 3,805,318 (Marquette); 7,086,112 (Smith et al.); 9,380,860 (Taylor); and US2014/0096801 (McCormick et al.).

While such apparatus may be generally suitable for their intended purposes, they nevertheless appear to suffer from one or more of the following drawbacks: complexity of construction, cost, ease of use, etc. Thus a need exists for an apparatus that can be used to automatically clean one or more makeup brushes which overcomes the disadvantages of the prior art.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

One aspect of this invention is an apparatus for cleaning a cosmetic brush. The cosmetic brush includes a handle from which a brush-head, comprising a plurality of bristles projects outward. The bristles have a free end. The apparatus comprises a housing, a support member, a fan, and a wiping member. The housing comprises a drying space. The support member is configured for supporting the handle of at least one cosmetic brush therein, whereupon the bristles of the brush are located within the drying space. The fan is configured for introducing a stream of air into the drying space. The wiping member and the support member are configured to move with respect to each other to cause the wiping member to sweep across the bristles to cause the bristles to separate, whereupon air from the fan can reach between the bristles to blow any debris off of the bristles and to dry any moisture or wetness on the bristles if there is any such moisture or wetness on the bristles.

In accordance with one preferred aspect of the apparatus of this invention, the wiping member comprises an oscillating member located within the housing adjacent the drying space and configured for sweeping across the bristles of the brush.

In accordance with another preferred aspect of the apparatus of this invention, the wiping member comprises plural blades separated from one another by respective air gaps between the blades.

In accordance with another preferred aspect of the apparatus of this invention, the wiping member is located within the stream of air. In accordance with another preferred aspect of the apparatus of this invention, the fan comprises a rotating member having plural vanes, with the rotating member being mounted for rotation about an axis within a shroud to produce the stream of air.

In accordance with another preferred aspect of the apparatus of this invention, the shroud includes an outlet opening through which the stream of air passes and wherein the wiping member is located over the outlet opening, whereupon the stream of air can flow through the air gaps between the blades.

In accordance with another preferred aspect of the apparatus of this invention, the shroud is stationarily mounted within the housing and wherein the wiping member is mounted for movement with respect to the shroud, with the wiping member being configured to be reciprocated by a motor to cause the wiping member to sweep the blades across the bristles of the brush.

In accordance with another preferred aspect of the apparatus of this invention, the support member comprises plural openings, each of which is configured to receive and support a respective cosmetic brush therein.

In accordance with another preferred aspect of the apparatus of this invention, the support member is pivotable from a loading/unloading position to a cleaning position and vice versa. The support member when in the loading/unloading position is oriented such that the handles of the brushes received within the plural openings extend parallel to the wiping member. The support member when in the cleaning position is oriented such that the handles of the brushes extend at an angle to the wiping member with the bristles of the brushes in engagement with the wiping member.

In accordance with another preferred aspect of the apparatus of this invention, each of the plural openings includes a periphery and a plurality of resilient fingers extending inward from the periphery.

In accordance with another preferred aspect of the apparatus of this invention, the apparatus additionally comprises an openable/closable cover configured for extending over and covering the support member and the drying space. In accordance with another preferred aspect of the apparatus of this invention, the cover comprises a pair of cover sections, each of which is pivotably connected to the housing.

In accordance with another preferred aspect of the apparatus of this invention, the apparatus additionally comprises an actuator for initiating the operation of the apparatus to cause the fan and the wiping member to begin operation, and a timer for automatically turning off the fan and wiping member after a predetermined period of time has elapsed.

In accordance with another preferred aspect of the apparatus of this invention, the apparatus additionally comprises a visual display member configured to provide an indication of the amount of time remaining before the time turns the fan and the wiping member off.

In accordance with another preferred aspect of the apparatus of this invention, the housing includes a tray including a ridged member configured to receive a cleaning solution on the ridged member, whereupon the bristles of the brush may be wetted with the cleaning solution and rubbed across the ridged member to loosen any debris on the bristles, whereupon the brush can thereafter be mounted on the support member of the apparatus for cleaning.

In accordance with another preferred aspect of the apparatus of this invention, the ridged member comprises a plurality of undulating ridges spaced adjacent one another.

In accordance with another preferred aspect of the apparatus of this invention, the ridged member comprises a silicone pad.

DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING

The invention will be described in conjunction with the following drawings in which like reference numerals designate like elements and wherein:

Fig. 1 A is an isometric view of one exemplary embodiment of an apparatus constructed in accordance with this invention for cleaning at least one cosmetic brush, with the apparatus being shown ready to clean and dry plural cosmetic brushes; Fig. 1B is an isometric view, similar to Fig. 1, but showing the apparatus of Fig. 1 with a portion, i.e., a brush clamp, pivoted upward to enable the cosmetic brushes to be cleaned to be mounted in the apparatus;

Fig. 2 is an isometric view of the various components making up the apparatus of Fig. 1, except for the apparatus’ external housing;

Fig. 3 is a reduced exploded isometric view of the components shown in Fig.

2;

Fig. 4 is an enlarged isometric view of two of the components of the apparatus of Fig. 1, namely, a motor and a fan;

Fig. 5 is an enlarged sectional view taken along line 5 - 5 of Fig. 4;

Fig. 6 is an enlarged end view taken along line 6 - 6 of Fig. 4;

Fig. 7 is an enlarged isometric view of another of the components of the apparatus of Fig. 1, namely, a shroud for the fan shown in Fig.4;

Fig. 8 is an enlarged isometric view of another of the components of the apparatus of Fig. 1, namely, a movable wiper for wiping the bristles of the cosmetic brushes when they are mounted in the apparatus;

Fig. 9 is a reduced partially exploded isometric view of an alternative embodiment of the apparatus of Fig. 1, with the alternative embodiment being shown minus its housing, which housing is the same as the embodiment of Fig. 1;

Fig. 10 is an enlarged isometric view of some of the components of the alternative apparatus of Fig. 9, namely an assembly of a shroud mounting the fan, its motor and a brush wiper, and an associated motor and linkage for pivoting the assembly with respect to the housing;

Fig. 11 is an enlarged isometric view of the shroud shown in Fig. 10;

Fig. 12 is an isometric view of another alternative, and most preferred, exemplary embodiment of an apparatus constructed in accordance with this invention for cleaning at least one cosmetic brush, with the apparatus being shown with a pair of cover members of the housing of the apparatus open, and with a plurality of brushes mounted in the housing of the apparatus so that they can be cleaned and dried thereby;

Fig. 13 is an exploded isometric view of the apparatus shown in Fig. 12; Fig. 14A is an exploded isometric view of some of the components, namely, a fan, a shroud for the fan, a motor for operating the fan, a wiping member, and a motor for reciprocating the wiping member, all of which are located within the housing of the apparatus of Fig. 12;

Fig. 14B is another exploded isometric view of the components shown in

Fig. 12A, but taken from a different angle;

Fig. 15 is an isometric view of the components shown in Figs. 14A and 14B shown assembled together;

Fig. 16 is an enlarged top plan view of the assembled components shown in Fig. 15;

Fig. 17 is an enlarged isometric view of the wiping member of the apparatus of Fig. 12;

Fig. 18 is an enlarged isometric view of one component, namely, a base member, making up a portion of the housing of the apparatus of Fig. 12;

Fig. 19 is an enlarged isometric view of another component, namely, a tray, which is mounted within the base member of the housing, with the tray being show holding a ridged“scrubbing” panel therein;

Fig. 20 is an even more enlarged isometric view of the ridged panel shown in Fig. 19;

Fig. 21 is an enlarged top plan view of a brush support member, which makes up a portion of the housing of the apparatus of Fig. 12;

Fig. 22 is an enlarged isometric view of a display panel forming a portion of the housing of the apparatus;

Fig. 23A is a reduced isometric view of the apparatus of Fig. 12, with the covers of its housing being shown in their closed state, whereupon the apparatus is ready to be used to clean and dry at least one cosmetic brush;

Fig. 23B is an isometric view, similar to Fig. 23 A, but showing the tray of the apparatus extended to provide access to the ridged panel, whereupon a cleaning solution on the panel can be engaged by the bristles of a brush to wash the bristles by moving them across the ridged scrubbing panel, whereupon when that washing action is completed the brush may be mounted on the apparatus, for further cleaning and drying; Fig. 23C is an isometric view, similar to Fig. 23B, but showing the covers of the apparatus opened, and with the brush support member oriented in a brush receiving position to facilitate the mounting of one or more brushes therein by extending the handle end of the brush into a respective opening in the brush support member;

Fig. 23D is an isometric view, similar to Fig. 23 C, but one brush mounted in the brush support member; and

Fig. 23E is an isometric view, similar to Fig. 23D, but with the brush support member oriented in its operative position wherein the bristles of the brush are in engagement with the wiping member, whereupon the apparatus may be turned on to cause the motors to reciprocate the wiping member and operate the fan to blow air through the reciprocating wiper member to thereby clean and dry the bristles of the brush.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS OF THE INVENTION

Referring now to the various figures of the drawing wherein like reference characters refer to like parts, there is shown in Fig. 1 one exemplary apparatus 20 for cleaning cosmetic brushes 10 constructed in accordance with this invention. The apparatus can be used to clean and, if necessary dry one or more than one cosmetic or make-up brush. Before describing the apparatus 20, a brief description of a typical cosmetic or make-up brush 10 is in order. As is known, such brushes typically include an elongated handle 12 having a distal end from which a brush head 14 projects outward. The brush head 14 is made up of a large number of elongated bristles (not shown), which can be natural or synthetic. As such there are a multitude of interstitial spaces between the bristles. It is in these interstitial spaces as well as on the surface of the bristles that debris, e.g., old make-up, etc., accumulates and which should be cleaned periodically.

In one application, apparatus constructed in accordance with this invention can be used to dry and clean one or more cosmetic brushes that has/have been pre- cleaned cleaned by immersion of the brush head in a cleaning solution, e.g., water or some commercially available cleaning solution or by commercially available cleaning devices. In that case the subject apparatus will clean the brush head bristles of any remaining debris or liquid by agitating those bristles, e.g., spreading them apart, and blowing air into the interstitial spaces between the spread apart bristles to blow such debris off those bristles and while also drying the bristles of any cleaning liquid. In another application, the apparatus of this invention can be used need not be used to clean one or more brushes that have not been pre-cleaned with a cleaning solution or are otherwise already dry. In such an alternative application the apparatus will clean the dry brush head bristles by agitating those bristles, e.g., spreading them apart, and blowing air into the interstitial spaces between the spread apart bristles to blow any debris off those bristles. Thus, in either of those applications, the apparatus of this invention are configured to accommodate one or more brushes whose brush heads need to be cleaned and/or dried by causing the bristles of those brush heads to be agitated or swept by a wiping member to separate the bristles while a stream of air is directed to the bristles, thereby removing any debris that may have accumulated on the bristles and drying the bristles if there is any moisture or wetness on the bristles. Moreover, owing to the construction of the apparatus and in particular its brush holding components (to be described later), it can accommodate cosmetic brushes of various constructions, sizes and shapes.

The apparatus 20 basically comprises a housing 22, a fan assembly 24, a wiper member 26, a fan motor 28, and a wiper motor 30. The housing 22 is a hollow member formed of any suitable material, e.g., plastic, metal, etc., and has a bottom wall 22A, a pair of upstanding side walls 22B and 22C, an upstanding back wall 22D, a top wall 22E, and an intermediate wall 22F. The interior space bounded by the walls 22A - 22F forms an interior chamber in which the fan assembly 24, the wiper member 26 and the motors 28 and 30 are located. The front of the housing is in the form of an open window 32. A brush support member 34 is disposed over the window 32 between the side walls 22B and 22C and spaced from the bottom edge of the intermediate wall 22F. As best seen in Fig. 1B, the brush support member 34 includes a back edge 34A and a front edge 34B. The back edge 34A of the brush support member is spaced from the bottom edge of the intermediate wall 22F. The space between the bottom edge of the intermediate wall 22F and the back edge 34A of the brush support member 34 forms a drying space 36 which is in communication with the front of the wiping member 26. The brush support member 34 includes a plurality, e.g., in this case seven, semi-circular, linear recesses 38 extending from the front edge 34B to the back edge 34A. Each of these recesses is configured to receive a portion of the handle 12 of a respective cosmetic brush 10, so that the free end of the bristles of the brush head 14 is located immediately adjacent the wiping member 26 and within the drying space 36.

In order to securely hold any brush 10 within the apparatus 20 so that the bristles of its brush head can be cleaned and dried, the housing 22 includes a movable clamping member 40 which cooperates with the brush support member 34. In particular, the movable clamping member includes a pair of side arms 40A and 40B, which are pivotably connected via respective pivot pins 42 to a pair of ears 42A and 42B extending from the sidewalls 22B and 22C, respectively, adjacent the bottom edge of the intermediate wall 22F. The clamping member 40 includes a cross-member 44 interposed between the front ends of the side arms 40 A and 40B. The cross-member is formed of any suitable material, e.g., plastic, metal, etc. An insert block 46 is secured to the underside of the cross member 44. The block 46 is preferably formed of a somewhat resilient material, e.g., foam, and includes a back edge 46A and a front edge 46B. The insert block 46 includes a plurality, e.g., in this case seven, semi-circular, linear recesses 48 extending from the front edge 46B to the back edge 46A. Each of the recesses 48 is preferably of the same cross-sectional shape as the recesses 38 in the brush support member 34 (but could be smaller since the material making up the insert block is resilient). The recesses 48 are configured to conjoin with the recesses 38 of the brush support member when the movable clamping member is pivoted downward into its closed state, like shown in Fig. 1A. In this state the conjoining recesses 48 and 38 form respective channels tightly engaging and holding any brush handle 12 located therein. It should be pointed out at this juncture that the insert block 46 does not need to include any recesses 48, since it is formed of a resilient material, e.g., foam, whereupon it will conform to a portion of the periphery of each brush handle located within each recess 38 in the brush support member 34.

The fan assembly 24 will be described in detail later. Suffice it for now to state that it is configured to provide an stream of air through slots (to be described later) in the wiping member 26 as the wiping member oscillates or sweeps back and forth across the bristles of the brushes.

The wiping member 26 is best seen in Fig. 8 and basically comprises a rectangular frame having plural longitudinally extending blades 26A extending between a pair of end sections 26B. Each of the blades 26A is separated from the immediately adjacent blade by an open slot 26C. A pair of guide pins 26D project outward from the outer surface of each of the end sections 26B. The pins 26D on one end section 26B are configured to fit within a respective slot (to be described later) of a shroud 50 (also to be described later) of the fan assembly 24, while the pins 26D on the opposite end section 26B are configured to fit within another respective slot of the shroud 50. This configuration enables the wiping member 26 to be oscillated or reciprocated with respect to the shroud 50 to enable the blades of the wiping member to sweep back and forth across the free end of the brush’s bristles.

Turning now to Figs. 2, 3 and 7, there is shown the shroud 50. The shroud is formed of any suitable material, e.g., plastic, metal, etc., and is in the form of a hollow member having a pair of flanged end walls 52 and an open front window 54 located between the end walls. Each end wall 52 includes a circular opening 52A. The front portion of each end wall 52 includes an elongated slot or track 52B. The slot 52B on of one end wall 52 is configured to slideably receive the pair of guide pins 26D on one of the end section 26B of the wiping member 26, while the slot 52B on the opposite end wall slideably receives the pair of guide pins 26D on the opposite end section 52B of the wiping member. The spacing between the pins 26D of each pair of pins is less than the length of the slot or track 52B in which the pair of pins is disposed to establish the range of movement or reciprocation of the wiper member 26 with respect to the shroud 50.

As best seen in Fig. 2, the lowermost one of one of the pairs of guide pins 26D of the wiping member is pivotably connected to one end of a link 56A of a linkage assembly 56. The other end of the link 56A is pivotably connected to one end of another link 56B of the linkage assembly. The opposite end of the link 56B is connected to a rotary output shaft 30A of the wiper motor 30. The wiper motor 30 is fixedly secured to the side wall 22B of the housing by plural screws 58 and is connected to a source of electrical power (not shown). Accordingly, when that electrical power is applied to the wiper motor 30 its rotary output shaft 30A rotates. The shroud 50 is fixedly secured to the housing 22 via a pair of connecting rods 60 extending through associated holes in the flanged end walls 52. Each end of each connecting rod is fixedly secured by any suitable means, e.g., screws (not shown), to the associated (adjacent) side wall of the housing 22. Accordingly, upon the operation of the motor 30, the rotation of the output shaft 30A will be translated into linear reciprocating motion of the previously mentioned lowermost guide pin 26D, whereupon that pin will move up and down in the slot or track 52B thereby carrying the wiping member 26 with it. Accordingly, the wiper member will be oscillated or reciprocated up and down with respect to the free end of the bristles of the brushes mounted in the apparatus.

Turning now to Figs. 3 and 4, it can be seen that the fan assembly 24 basically comprises the shroud 50, a fan-blade assembly 62 and the fan motor 28. The fan-blade assembly 62 is in the form of a hollow cylindrical member having two cylindrical sections 62A and 62B centered about a central longitudinal axis A and separated by a planar circular intermediate wall 62C. Each of the sections 62A and 62B includes a plurality of linear fan blades 64, which are arcuate in cross-section (See Figs. 5 and 6) and which extend parallel to the axis A. A linear drive shaft 66 extends along the axis A and is fixedly secured to the center of the intermediate wall 62C. The drive shaft 66 constitutes the rotary output shaft of the fan motor 28.

The fan-blade assembly 62 is located within the hollow interior of the shroud 50, with the open free end of that assembly located immediately adjacent and in fluid communication with the opening 52A in the flange end wall 52 of the shroud. Moreover, there is a similarly sized opening 22G in the housing’s side wall 22B that is in fluid communication with the opening 52A in that flange end wall. The opposite end of the fan-blade assembly from which the drive shaft 66 extends is located immediately adjacent the opening 52 A on the opposite end of the shroud so that the drive shaft extends out of that opening. The fan motor 28 is fixedly secured within the housing 22 immediately adjacent that opposite end of the shroud by any suitable means, e.g., screws (not shown). The side wall 22C also includes an opening 22G which is of the same size as the opening 22G in the side wall 22B and is axially aligned with it. Operation of the fan assembly 24 to produce the air stream is as follows. The fan motor 28, is connected to a source of electrical power (not shown) which when electricity is applied to the fan motor causes the fan motor to operate and its drive shaft 66 to rotate about the axis A. This action rotates the fan-blade assembly 62 about that axis, whereupon ambient air from outside the housing 22 enters through the openings 22G and into the interior of the fan blade assembly. That action produces a stream of air which is directed outward through the slots 26C in the wiper member 26 into the drying space 36. The stream of air entering the drying space thus impinges the bristles of the brushes 10 mounted in the apparatus 20 as the blades 64 of the wiping member 26 repeatedly sweep up and down across those bristles thereby separating them. Accordingly, the stream of air reaches the interstitial spaces between the separated bristles to dry any moisture or wetness on the bristles and blow any debris off of the bristles.

As should be appreciated by those skilled in the art, owing to the construction of the apparatus 20 the stream of air will not only flow into the bristles at the free end of the brush heads, but also above and below the brush heads. Accordingly, debris from the bristles can exit upward out of the drying space and downward below the drying space and out the open window 32 in the front of the housing, thereby facilitating the cleaning and drying action of the apparatus 20.

Turning now to Figs. 9 - 11, there is shown an alternative exemplary embodiment of an apparatus 120 for cleaning and drying cosmetic brushes 10 constructed in accordance with this invention. The apparatus 120 is very similar in construction and operation to the apparatus 20, except for the fact that the apparatus 120 is configured so that the wiper member 26 is oscillated or reciprocated along with the fan assembly instead of oscillating/reciprocating with respect to the fan assembly as is the case of the apparatus 20. In the interest of brevity those components of the apparatus 120 which are identical in construction and operation with the like components of the apparatus 20 will be given the same reference numbers and their description and operation will not be reiterated. The apparatus 120 includes a housing 22, like the apparatus 20, but that housing has been omitted from Fig. 9 in the interest of drawing simplicity. As can be seen in Fig. 9 the shroud of the apparatus 120 is given the reference number 150 and is similar in construction to the shroud 50, except for the fact that the wiper member 26 is fixedly secured to the shroud, i.e., it is fixedly secured in the window 54 of the shroud 150. Thus, the shroud does not include the slots 52B. Instead, the flanged end 52 opposite the end where the motor 28 is located includes an outwardly projecting pin 152 which is pivotably connected to the link 56 A of the linkage assembly 56. The other end of the link 56 A is pivotably connected to one end of the link 56B. The opposite end of the link 56B is connected to a rotary output shaft 30A of the wiper motor 30. The wiper motor 30 is fixedly secured to the side wall 22B of the housing by plural screws 58. An elongated rod- like axle 160 extends between the side walls 22B and 22C and is passed through respective holes 162 in the flanged ends walls 52 of the shroud 150. In the exemplary embodiment of Fig. 9, each end of the axle 160 is fixedly secured to a respective side wall of the housing, whereas the portion of the axle passing through the holes 162 is not secured to the axle. Accordingly, the shroud 150 is pivotable about the longitudinal axis of the axle and can thus pivot with respect to the housing 22. In particular, upon the operation of the wiper motor 30, the rotation of its output shaft 30A will be coupled by the links 56B and 56A to the outwardly projecting pin 152 on the shroud. Since that pin is laterally offset from the axis of the axle 160, the shroud and the fan assembly disposed therein will be repeatedly pivoted clockwise and counter-clockwise about the axle 160. Since the wiping member 36 is fixedly mounted to the shroud 150 the pivoting of the shroud will result in the wiping member 26 being swept back and forth across the bristles of the brushes to clean the brushes, while the air stream exiting through the slots 26C of the wiping member blows any debris off of the bristles in the same manner as described earlier.

It should be noted that while the embodiment 120 makes use of a fixed axle 160, i.e., an axle whose ends are fixedly secured to the side walls 22B and 22C of the housing so that the shroud can pivot with respect to the axle, that arrangement is not mandatory. Thus, it is contemplated that axle itself may movable, e.g., the ends of the axle could be rotatably mounted within bearings (not shown) mounted on the side walls 22B and 22C of the housing, but with the portions of the axle being fixedly secured to the flanged end walls 52. In such a case, the axle and the shroud could still be pivoted back and forth about the axis of the axle, whereupon the wiping member will be repeatedly swept back and forth across the bristles of the brush(es).

Turning now to Fig. 12 there is shown a more preferred embodiment 220 of apparatus constructed in accordance with this invention for cleaning one or more cosmetic brushes 10. The apparatus 220 can be for the same purposes as the apparatus 20 and 120 described above. In fact, the apparatus 220 is particularly suited to clean and dry one or more cosmetic brushes that has/have been pre-cleaned cleaned by immersion of the brush head in a cleaning solution, e.g., water or some commercially available cleaning solution, on a ridged“scrubbing” panel (to be described later) in a tray (also to be described later) of the housing of the apparatus 220. In that case the operation of the apparatus 220 will clean the brush head bristles of any remaining debris or liquid by agitating those bristles, e.g., spreading them apart, and blowing air into the interstitial spaces between the spread apart bristles to blow such debris off those bristles and while also drying the bristles of any cleaning liquid.

The apparatus 220 basically comprises a housing 222, a fan assembly 224 (Figs. 15 and 16), a wiper member 226, a fan motor 228 (Fig. 13), and a wiper motor 230 (Fig. 13). The fan assembly 224, wiper member 226, fan motor 228, and wiper motor 230 are all mounted within the housing 222. The details of the construction of the fan assembly 224 will be described later. Suffice it for now to state that the fan assembly is constructed like the fan assembly 24 described earlier. Thus, the common details of the construction of the fan assembly 224 and the fan assembly 24 will be given the same reference numbers and the details of their construction and operation will not be reiterated in the interest of brevity. The wiper member 226 is also constructed like the wiper member 26. Thus, the common details of the construction of the wiper member 226 and the wiper member 26 will be given the same reference numbers and the details of their construction and operation will not be reiterated in the interest of brevity.

The housing is best seen in Fig. 13 and basically comprises plural components, i.e., a base section 222A, a main section 222B, a brush support section 222C, and a pair of pivotable covers 22D. The components making up the housing can be formed of any suitable material, e.g., plastic, metal, etc. The main section 222B is a hollow body having a top wall 232, and a pair of opposed sidewalls 234 extending downward from the top wall 232, a pair of opposed end walls 236 interposed between the sidewalls and also extending downward from the top wall. Each end wall includes an opening or port 238 through which air may flow into and out of the housing. A decorative ring 240 is located within each opening to finish the opening. A rectangular window 242 is located in the top wall 232. The window serves to receive the wiper member 226. A bracket 244 projects upward from the top wall immediately adjacent one end of the window 242. The bracket serves to pivotably mount the brush support section 222C to the main section 222B of the housing 222. The details of the brush support section 222C will be described later. Suffice it for now to state that it includes plural openings each of which is configured to receive the handle 12 of a brush 10.

The pivotable covers 222D are of identical construction to each other and are preferably formed of a transparent material. Each cover 222D is pivotably connected to the main section 222B, by means of a hinge joint 246. The hinged joint can be made in various conventional ways, so long as each cover is pivotably connected to the housing so that the cover can be pivoted from the closed position like shown in Figs. 23A and 23B to the open position like shown in Figs. 12 and 23C - 23E.

The main section 222B of the housing 222 is mounted on the base section

222A. The base section 222A is best seen in Figs. 13 and 18. As can be seen it basically comprises a bottom wall 248, a pair of opposed sidewalls 250, a first end wall 252, and a second end wall 254. The bottom edge of the sidewalls 234 and end walls 236 of the main section 222B are secured to the top edges of the sidewalls 250 and end walls 252 and 254, respectively, of the base section to form a hollow enclosure in which the fan assembly 224, the wiper member 226, the fan motor 228, and the wiper motor 230 are located. A recess 256 (Fig. 13) is provided in the bottom edge of the end wall 236 for receipt of an electrical cable (to be described later) that is coupled to the motors 228 and 230 and the associated electrical circuitry making up the apparatus 220.

The base section 222A also includes an enclosed, but hollow compartment 258 projecting upward from the bottom wall 248. The compartment 258 is open at the end wall 254 to releasably receive a tray 260. The tray 260 is best seen in Fig. 19 and basically comprises a short height hollow member having a bottom wall 260A, from which two sidewalls 260B and 260C and two end walls 260D and 260E project upward. The end wall 260E is in the form of a handle 262 which is graspable from the outside of the tray. The tray 260 is configured to receive and hold the heretofore mentioned ridged scrubbing panel, designed by the reference number 264. That panel is best seen in Fig. 20 and will be described later.

Turning now to Figs. 12 and 21 the details of the brush support section222C will now be described. Thus, as can be seen that section basically comprises a rectangular block having plural openings 266 extending through the block. In the exemplary embodiment there are two rows of five opening for a total of ten openings. Each opening 266 includes an insert in the form of a ring formed of any suitable material, e.g., silicon, thermoplastic elastomer (TPE), foam (. Each ring has a plurality of fingers 266A extending radially inward from the inner periphery of the ring. The fingers are somewhat resilient so that they can flex to enable the handle 12 of a brush to be extended through the opening 266 between the free ends of the fingers 266A, whereupon the fingers will flex to frictionally engage the handle of the brush to hold the brush in place within the opening. The handles of the brushes are extended into the openings 266 from their free end rather than their bristle end since introducing the bristle end of a brush into an opening would likely damage the bristles.

In order to facilitate the mounting of the brushes 10 in the openings 266, the brush support section 222C is pivotably mounted on the bracket 244 by a pivot pin 268 (Fig. 13) extending into a correspondingly shaped opening in the bracket. Accordingly, the brush support section can be pivoted through an arc of at least ninety degrees to bring it into an orientation like shown in Fig. 23 C. In that orientation, which can be called the“loading” orientation, the free end of the handle of any brush can be juxtaposed opposite an opening 266 into which the brush will be mounted so that the free end can be inserted between the fingers 266A of that opening and pushed inward. The brush is pushed inward to the point at which the bristles 14 of the brush are located a desired distance from the brush support member 222C like shown in Fig. 23D. That desired distance is the distance that will enable the free ends of the bristles to engage the blades of the wiping member 22 when the brush support section is rotated to its“operative” orientation. In particular, once the brushes are loaded into the openings 226 of the brush support section 222C at the desired distances, the brush support section can be rotated about pivot pin 268 ninety degrees to bring it to the“operative” orientation like shown in Figs. 12 and 23E. In that orientation the bristles of the brush are ready to be cleaned and dried by the reciprocation of the wiper member 226 and the concomitant operation of the fan assembly 224.

As mentioned earlier the fan assembly 224 is similar to the fan assembly 24. Thus, it basically comprises the shroud 50, a fan-blade assembly 62 and the fan motor 228. The fan-blade assembly 62 is in the form of a hollow cylindrical member having two cylindrical sections 62A and 62B centered about its central longitudinal axis and separated by a planar circular intermediate wall 62C. Each of the sections 62A and 62B includes a plurality of linear fan blades 64, which are arcuate in cross- section and which extend parallel to the central longitudinal axis. A linear drive shaft 66 extends along that axis and is fixedly secured to the center of the intermediate wall 62C. The drive shaft 66 constitutes the rotary output shaft of the fan motor 228. The fan-blade assembly 62 is located within the hollow interior of the shroud 50, with the open free end of that assembly located immediately adjacent and in fluid communication with the opening 238 in the housing section 222B. The fan motor 228 is fixedly secured within the housing 222 by any suitable means, e.g., screws (not shown). Electric power for the fan motor 228 is provided via an electrical cable 270. The cable extends through the recess 256 in the housing and is connected to the fan motor 228, the wiper motor 230 and the remainder of the electrical circuitry of the apparatus 220 (which will be described later).

Turning now to Fig. 17, the details of the wiper member 226 will now be described. The wiper member 226, like the wiper member 26, basically comprises a rectangular frame having plural longitudinally extending blades 26A extending between a pair of end sections 26B. Each of the blades 26A is separated from the immediately adjacent blade by an open slot 26C. A pair of guide pins 26D project outward from the outer surface of each of the end sections 26B. The pins 26D on one end section 26B are configured to fit within a respective slot or track 52B (Figs. 14A, 14B and 15) of the shroud 50 of the fan assembly 224, while the pins 26D on the opposite end section 26B are configured to fit within another respective slot or track 52B of the shroud 50. The spacing between the pins 26D of each pair of pins is less than the length of the slot or track 52B in which the pair of pins is disposed to establish the range of movement or reciprocation of the wiper member 226 with respect to the shroud 50. One of the pairs of guide pins 26D of the wiper member is pivotably connected to one end of a link of a linkage assembly 56, like that described earlier. The other end of the link is pivotably connected to one end of another link of the linkage assembly. The opposite end of that other link is connected to a rotary output shaft 30A of the wiper motor 230. When the electrical power is applied to the wiper motor 230 its rotary output shaft will rotate. The shroud 50 is fixedly secured to the housing 222 via a pair of connecting rods 60 extending through associated holes in the flanged end walls 52. Thus, upon the operation of the motor 230, the rotation of the output shaft 30A will be translated into linear reciprocating motion of guide pin 26D connected to the linkage assembly 56, whereupon that pin will move back and forth in the slot or track 52B thereby carrying the wiper member 226 with it. Accordingly, as discussed earlier, the wiper member 226 will be oscillated or reciprocated with respect to the shroud 50 by the operation of the wiper motor 230 to thereby enable the blades 26 A of the wiper member to sweep back and forth across the free end of the brush’s bristles.

Operation of the fan assembly 224 will produce an air stream like that described above with respect to the apparatus 20 to create a stream of air which is blown through the slots 26C between the blades of the wiper member 226. In particular, when electricity is applied to the fan motor 228 the rotation of its drive shaft 66 rotates the fan-blade assembly 62, whereupon ambient air from outside the housing 222 enters through the openings 238 into the housing and into the interior of the fan blade assembly. That action produces a stream of air which is directed outward through the slots 26C in the wiper member 26 into the space immediately above the wiper member. That space serves as the“drying” space and in which the bristles of the brushes to be cleaned and dried are located. The stream of air entering the drying space thus impinges the bristles of those brushes as the blades 26A of the wiping member 226 repeatedly sweep back and forth across those bristles thereby separating them. Accordingly, the stream of air reaches the interstitial spaces between the separated bristles to dry any moisture or wetness on the bristles and blow any debris off of the bristles.

After the brushes have been cleaned and dried, the brushes can be removed from the brush support section 222C by merely grasping the handles of the brushes and pulling them out of their respective openings 266.

Turning now to Fig. 20, the details of the scrubbing panel 264 will be described. Thus, as can be seen the scrubbing panel 264 is a generally planar rectangular shaped member having a plurality of undulating ridges projecting upward from the top surface of the panel. In accordance with one preferred aspect of this invention the scrubbing panel is formed of silicon, PTE, polypropylene, polyethylene, ABS, etc. As mentioned earlier the scrubbing panel is configured for disposition within the tray 260. The tray is arranged for receipt of a cleaning solution or water to wet the ridged panel disposed therein. That arrangement enables one to “prewash” the bristles of the brushes before cleaning and drying them with the reciprocating wiping member. That prewashing action can be accomplished by a user pulling the tray out of the base section by means of the tray’s handle to the position shown in Fig. 23B. A cleaning solution can then be poured into the tray to wet the scrubbing panel. Then the user can hold the brush in her/his hand and sweep or rub the bristles of the brush across the wetted ridges of the scrubbing panel. That action should effect the removal of most of the debris on the bristles. Once the bristles are sufficiently prewashed, the brush with its wet bristles is ready to be mounted on the brush support member 222C for final cleaning and drying. That action is accomplished by pivoting the covers 222D from their closed state as shown in Figs. 23A and 23B to their open state as shown in Fig. 23C. In that state the brush support section 222C can be pivoted ninety degrees from the orientation shown in Figs. 23A and 23B to the“loading” orientation shown in Fig. 23C, whereupon the brushes can be loaded into the openings 266 as described earlier until they are in their final position like shown in Fig. 23D. Once the brushes are so loaded and in their final position, the brush support section 222C can be pivoted ninety degrees to the“operative” orientation shown in Fig. 23E, whereupon the brushes can be finally cleaned and dried by the operation of the apparatus 220 as described earlier. Once