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Title:
GLASS CLEANING APPARATUS
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2007/124087
Kind Code:
A2
Abstract:
An apparatus for cleaning a glass surface having a handle, a generally triangularly shaped head having a pad with a front corner, two rear corners joined by a rear edge, a triangularly shaped pad and a universal joint which pivotally couples to the handle and the head. The pad has a front corner and two rear corners joined by a rear edge. The universal joint allows the head to be rotatably movable relative to the handle. The head includes three sub-pads, each including one of the corners. Each sub-pad includes a substantially flat working surface to move along the glass surface to be cleaned. The pad also includes a collar to which the sub-pad working surfaces are rotatably joined to allow relative movement between the sub-pads. A cleaning element is removably placed over the working surfaces and held on the working surface when the glass is being cleaned.

Inventors:
NESLER, Todd (2480 Doris, Brighton, Michigan, 48116, US)
Application Number:
US2007/009707
Publication Date:
November 01, 2007
Filing Date:
April 20, 2007
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
NESLER, Todd (2480 Doris, Brighton, Michigan, 48116, US)
International Classes:
A47L1/06
Foreign References:
US6973695B1
US20020174502A1
US6412138B1
US6044513A
US5625918A
US5596787A
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
OLSON, Stephen T. et al. (Harness, Dickey & Pierce P.L.C.,P.O. Box 82, Bloomfield Hills Michigan, 48303, US)
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Claims:

WHAT IS CLAIMED IS:

1. An apparatus for cleaning a glass surface, the apparatus comprising: a handle; a head having a single front corner and two rear corners joined by a rear edge and having a working surface; a cleaning member which is placed over the head working surface; and a universal joint which is pivotally coupled to the handle and the head and which allows the head to be rotatably movable relative to the handle, wherein the universal joint includes a rotatable pivot pin held by the head such that the axis of the pivot pin is substantially parallel to a centerline passing through the front corner.

2. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the universal joint allows the head to be rotated so the rear edge faces forward and the axis of the pivot pin passes through the approximate midpoint of the rear edge.

3. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the handle comprises selectively extendable telescoping shaft portions and a locking mechanism for selectively maintaining the extendable telescoping shaft portions in a fixed relationship during use or allowing movement between the shaft portions for adjustment.

4. The apparatus in claim 1 wherein the pivot pin allows for relative rotation between the head and the handle about the axis of the pivot pin and the universal joint has a second axis of rotation between the head and the handle substantially at a right angle to the axis of the pivot pin.

5. The apparatus in claim 4 wherein the second axis of rotation is offset from the axis of the pivot pin toward the head working surface.

6. The apparatus in claim 5 wherein the second axis passes through the pivot pin.

7. The apparatus in claim 1 wherein the head further comprises an adhesive material on which the cleaning member is removably attached.

8. The apparatus of claim 7 wherein the adhesive is a hook and loop type fastener assembly.

9. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the head includes a pad over which the cleaning member is placed.

10. The apparatus of claim 9 wherein the pad has a substantially flat working surface for holding the cleaning member substantially flat against the glass surface during cleaning.

11. The apparatus of claim 9 wherein the pad is composed of a plurality of sub-pads rotatable relative to one another so that they can follow the contours of the glass surface.

12. The apparatus of claim 11 , wherein the head also includes a base, where the plurality of sub-pads are three in number and each includes one of the corners, and the sub-pads are joined together by the base member which also includes apertures in which the pivot pin rotates.

13. An apparatus for cleaning a glass surface, the apparatus comprising: a handle; a generally triangularly shaped head comprising a base and a pad having three corners and three sub-pads, each sub-pad including a working surface and one of the corners and each sub-pad being pivotably connected to the base; a cleaning member which is placed over the sub-pads; and a universal joint which is pivotally coupled to the handle and the head and which allows the head to be rotatably movable relative to the handle.

14. The apparatus of claim 13, wherein the universal joint includes a rotatable pivot pin joined to the base and the axis of the pivot pin passes through one of the corners.

15. The apparatus of claim 13 wherein the sub-pads can be rotated so their working surfaces are aligned to form a joint flat working surface for cleaning a pane of glass.

16. The apparatus of claim 15 wherein the sub-pads can be rotated so their working surfaces are aligned to face outwardly from one another for cleaning a tube-like structure.

17. An apparatus for cleaning a glass surface, the apparatus comprising: a handle; a generally triangularly shaped head having a pad with a front corner, two rear corners joined by a rear edge; the pad, comprising a plurality of sub-pads, including a separate sub-pad corresponding to the front and the two rear corners, and a collar; each sub-pad including a substantially flat working surface to move along the glass surface to be cleaned, with the sub-pad working surfaces rotatable with respect to one another by pivots joining the sub-pads to the collar; and a universal joint which is pivotally coupled to the handle and the head and which allows the head to be rotatably movable relative to the handle, wherein the universal joint includes a rotatable pivot pin held by the head such that the axis of the pivot pin passes through the front comer and a midpoint of the rear edge and a rotational pin held by the handle and joined to the pivot pin, the rotational pin having an axis perpendicular to the pivot pin.

18. The apparatus of claim 17 further comprising a cleaning portion which is removably placed over the working surfaces and held on the working surface when the glass is being cleaned.

19. The apparatus of claim 18 wherein the cleaning portion is comprised of a plurality of sub-cleaning elements removably attached to two or more of the sub-pads.

20. The apparatus of claim 19 wherein the sub-cleaning elements correspond in number and shape to the sub-pad working surfaces.

21. A window cleaning apparatus comprising: an elongated handle having a first end to be held by a user and a second end; a head assembly having a generally flat front side and an opposed rear side; a cleaning member affixed to the head assembly overlying at least a substantial portion of the front side thereof; and

a hinge assembly interconnecting the second end of the handle and the head, the hinge assembly having a first hinge member attached to the head rear side rotatable about first hinge axis generally parallel to the head flat front side, and a second hinge member connected to the first hinge member and attached to the handle and second end for rotation about its second hinge axis or diagonal for the first hinge axis, wherein the first and second hinge axes are generally parallel to the head flat front side with the second hinge axis located closer to the head flat front side than the first hinge axis.

22. The apparatus of claim 21 wherein the head assembly comprises a plurality of pads, including a separate pad corresponding to the front and the two rear corners, and a collar which is part of the rear side of the head assembly; each pad including a substantially flat working surface to move along the window to be cleaned, with the pad working surfaces rotatable with respect to one another by pivots joining the pads to the collar; and the collar is attached to the first hinge member.

Description:

GLASS CLEANING APPARATUS

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

[0001] This invention relates to an apparatus for cleaning glass or another surface and more particularly, to an apparatus which utilizes a shaft and a universal joint to pivotal Iy move a pad and cleaning element in relation to the angle of the glass surface and to allow a user to easily and ergonomically apply a force to the glass, thereby cleaning the glass.

2. Background Art

[0002] Conventional glass cleaning equipment is often built in a manner that does not always provide an easy and convenient method for a user to clean hard to reach surfaces, such as angled or curved glass surfaces on the inside of automobiles or delicatessen counters. Particularly, this conventional equipment is either too rigid, too big, or just too difficult to adapt or conform to certain attributes of the glass surface, such as its shape or location.

[0003] For example, it is often difficult to clean hard to reach surfaces because conventional cleaning devices do not properly adapt or conform to the angle or curve of the surfaces. A user must either reach or stretch in an uncomfortable manner in order to clean these types of glass. Moreover, because of the distance and shape of the glass surface, a user is unable to properly apply a force which is adequate to clean the glass.

[0004] More specifically, conventional cleaning equipment devices use long non-flexible shafts which make it extremely difficult to maneuver in tight or narrow areas, such as within an automobile or behind a delicatessen counter. Moreover, a user in these tight or narrow areas cannot apply a sufficient amount of force to clean a particular glass surface, such as an automotive windshield or a glass surface within a delicatessen counter.

[0005] There is therefore a need for an apparatus to easily and ergonomically apply a force to clean or otherwise engage an angled glass surface or another surface and which overcomes some or all of the previously delineated drawbacks of the prior art.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0006] Accordingly, it is a principal object of the present invention to provide an apparatus for easily and ergonomically cleaning hard to reach glass which is adapted to overcome some or all of the previously delineated drawbacks of the prior art.

[0007] Another object of the present invention is to provide a glass cleaning apparatus that allows the user to easily maneuver the apparatus relative to the glass surface and have the working surfaces of the apparatus correspond to the surface of the glass.

[0008] Another object of the present invention is to allow the user to apply controlled pressure when moving the apparatus back and forth.

[0009] Directed to achieving these objects, a new glass cleaning apparatus is herein provided. The preferred configuration is an apparatus for cleaning a glass surface having a handle, a head having a pad with a front corner, two rear corners joined by a rear edge, and a universal joint which pivotally couples to the handle and the head. The pad has a front corner and two rear corners joined by a rear edge. The universal joint allows the head to be rotatably movable relative to the handle and includes a rotatable pivot pin held by the head such that the axis of the pivot pin passes through the front corner and a midpoint of the rear edge. The joint also has a rotational pin held by the handle and joined to the pivot pin. The rotational pin has an axis perpendicular to the pivot pin. The head includes a plurality of sub-pads, including a separate sub-pad corresponding to the front and the two rear corners. Each sub-pad includes a substantially fiat working surface to move along the glass surface to be cleaned. The pad also includes a base or collar to which the sub-pad working surfaces are rotatably joined. A cleaning portion may be removably placed over the working surfaces and held on the working surface when the glass is being cleaned. The cleaning portion may be made up of sub-cleaning elements corresponding in size and number to the sub-pad working surfaces.

[0010] The glass cleaning apparatus may comprise a handle, a generally triangularly shaped head having a front corner and two rear corners joined by a rear edge, a cleaning member which is placed over the head, and a

universal joint which pivotally couples the handle and the head. The front corner may be curved. The universal joint includes a rotatable pivot pin held by the head such that the axis of the pivot pin passes through the front corner. The universal joint may allow the head to be rotated so the rear edge faces forward and the axis of the pivot pin passes through the approximate midpoint of the rear edge. The handle may comprise selectively extendable telescoping shaft portions with a rotatable mechanism for locking the shaft portions in a fixed relationship during use. The head may include an adhesive material on which the cleaning member is removably attached, in the form of a hook and loop type assembly. The head may also include a pad over which the cleaning member is placed. This pad may include a substantially flat working surface for holding the cleaning member substantially flat against the glass surface during cleaning or may be in the form of a plurality of sub-pads rotatable relative to one another so that they can follow the contours of the glass surface. These sub-pads may be three in number with each including one of the corners.

[0011] The glass cleaning apparatus may also take the form of an apparatus comprising a handle, a generally triangularly shaped head comprising a base and a pad having three corners comprised of three sub-pads, each sub- pad including a working surface and one of the corners and each sub-pad being pivotably connected to the base and a cleaning member which is placed over the sub-pads. A universal joint pivotally couples to the handle and the head and allows the head to be rotatably movable relative to the handle. The universal joint may include a rotatable pivot pin joined to the base, where the axis of the pivot pin passes through one of the corners. The sub-pads may be rotated so their working surfaces are aligned to form a joint flat working surface for cleaning a pane of glass. The sub-pads may also be rotated so their working surfaces are aligned to face outwardly from one another for cleaning a tube-like structure.

[0012] These and other features and advantages of the invention may be more completely understood from the following detailed description of the preferred embodiments of the invention with reference to the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0013] FIGURE 1 is a perspective view of a glass cleaning apparatus which is made in accordance with the teachings of this invention and which is being used to clean a vehicle windshield;

[0014] FIGURE 2 is a perspective view of the glass cleaning apparatus being used to clean a delicatessen counter;

[0015] FIGURE 3 is a side view of the apparatus in Fig. 1 which illustrates the pivotal direction of the universal joint;

[0016] FIGURE 4 is a perspective view of the apparatus shown in Fig. 1 which illustrates the rotatable locking mechanism on the telescoping shaft being loosened;

[0017] FIGURE 5 is a back view of the head area of the glass cleaning apparatus which is made in accordance with the teachings of this invention;

[0018] FIGURE 6 is a back view of the head area of another embodiment of the glass cleaning apparatus which is made in accordance with the teachings of this invention;

[0019] FIGURE 7 is a view of the lower end of the yoke member used in the embodiment of Fig. 6; and

[0020] FIGURE 8 is a side view of the head area of the embodiment of Fig. 6.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIM ENT(S) [0021] Turning now to Figs. 1-5, there is shown a cleaning apparatus or assembly 10 which allows the user to clean an angled or curved glass surface. Glass surface 12 may be any type of glass surface, including glass-like surfaces, such as Plexiglas® transparent plastic sheets. In Fig. 1 , glass surface 12 being cleaned is a vehicle windshield 14. In Fig. 2, the surface being cleaned is a glass surface 12 which is part of a delicatessen counter 16. As shown, cleaning assembly 10 includes a handle in the form of telescoping shaft 18, a universal joint assembly 20, a head assembly 22 and a cleaning portion or member 24. Universal joint assembly 20 rotatably couples head member 22 to shaft assembly 18.

[0022] As best shown in Figs. 4 and 5, handle 18 includes a lower shaft portion or member 26, an upper shaft portion or member 28, and a rotational locking member 30. Handle 18 is made of a lightweight strong and durable material which is capable of withstanding a force produced by a user in order to clean glass surface 12. Upper shaft portion 28 may be generally tubular and hollow as shown in Fig. 4. Alternatively, the handle may have a rectangular cross-section, as shown in Fig. 5. Lower shaft portion 26 has a corresponding but smaller cross-section than upper shaft portion 28. Lower shaft portion 26 telescopically engages upper shaft portion 28 and is slidable in and out of upper shaft portion 18, thereby allowing shaft assembly 18 to be selectably adjusted to a desired length. Locking member 30 is a conventional rotatable locking mechanism which is rotatably coupled to upper shaft portion 28 and to lower shaft portion 26 to effectively and selectively secure lower shaft portion 26 relative to upper shaft portion 28. In this particular embodiment, by rotating locking mechanism 30 in a counter-clockwise direction 32, locking/ mechanism 30 frictionally engages lower shaft portion 26, thereby preventing lower shaft portion 26 from moving relative to upper shaft portion 18. Rotation of locking mechanism 30 in a clockwise direction releases lower shaft portion 26 so it can move relative to upper shaft portion 28. Top end 34 of upper shaft portion 28 may include a grip integrally formed with the upper shaft portion or slidable over the top end of the upper shaft portion.

[0023] As best shown in Figs. 3 and 5, head assembly 22 includes a generally triangularly shaped pad 36 and is joined to handle 18 by universal joint assembly 20. The generally triangularly shaped pad 36 is made up of three sub- pad members 37. Pad 36 also includes base portion or collar 38 which is pivotably connected to attachments 39 on the back of each of the sub-pads by hinges 41. Base portion 38 includes two raised portions 40, which connect assembly 22 to universal joint assembly 20. Each raised portion 40 of pad 36 includes an aperture.

[0024] Pad 36 is made of a lightweight strong and durable material. The pad is generally triangular in shape to easily reach and maneuver in and around "hard-to-reach" corners of glass surfaces to be cleaned. The corners of the pad

can be of various shapes to better allow the pad to clean in different areas. To allow more surface area at the front of the pad, the front corner 42 may be truncated. Thus, as shown in Figs. 2 and 4, front corner 42 is rounded to give a slightly larger effective surface area at the corner. Opposite front corner 42 there is a straight rear edge 44. This allows the pad to clean along straight edges of glass. Rear corners 46 may be pointed to allow access into corners. As shown in Fig. 2, it may be desired to have substantially different acute angles on the two rear corners of the pad. One rear corner may comprise an acute angle of approximately 50°- 70°, with remaining rear corner comprising an acute angle of approximately 20°- 40°. This effectively allows cleaning apparatus 10 to reach into differently shaped corners of the glass surface to be cleaned. Alternatively, all the corners may be equal and rounded, as shown in Fig. 4. Lower or working surface 48 of the pad (opposite base portion 38) may include or allow placement of an adhesive material 50 on the surface.

[0025] By use of a plurality of sub-pads hinged together, working surface 48 of pad 36 is allowed to more closely follow the contours of the surface being cleaned through the pivoting of the sub-pads relative to one another. Because of interference between sub-pads 37 and collar 38, the rotation of the inside portions of each sub-pad outward (toward the universal joint) is limited, although a concavity may be formed to follow small changes in the glass surface. Similarly, the pad may take on a convex alignment to follow changes in the glass surface. However, since there is no interference when the outer edges of sub-pads 37 are rotated outward, sub-pads 37 can be rotated 90° so to allow cleaning in tube-like structures.

[0026] Cleaning member 24 normally takes the form of a clothlike or rag material, which is placed over the working surface of pad 36. Cleaning member 24 contacts the glass. The user moves the cleaning member by the force applied to it through pressure applied through the pad working surface. Use of adhesive material 50 allows the cleaning member to remain removably attached to the pad even when pressure is released. One preferred type of adhesive material is a hook and loop type assembly, such as Velcro®. The cleaning member may alternatively be in a form of a spongelike material or a "terrycloth-like" material.

Cleaning member 24 is removed when dirty or when a different type of cleaning member is desired to be used. To allow for movement of the sub-pads, a non- elastic cleaning member should either be held on the pad by friction during use or be placed loosely on the adhesive on the pad. Alternatively, the cleaning member can take the form of smaller cleaning elements where each can be adhered to a sub-pad. When using a plurality of smaller cleaning elements it is preferred that each smaller cleaning element correspond in number and shape to the lower surface of the sub-pads.

[0027] To allow the user to easily and effectively control the head assembly 22 and cleaning element 24, a universal joint assembly 20 connects handle 18 to the head assembly. As best shown in Figs. 3 and 5, universal assembly 20 includes yoke member 52, cross member 54 and hinge pin member 56. Yoke member 52 is threadingly coupled at its top end to lower shaft portion 26 of telescoping shaft member 18 in Fig. 3. Alternatively, yoke 52 may be formed at the lower end of shaft member 18 as shown in Fig. 5. The lower end of the yoke member 52 comprises a "Y-shaped" or "forked" portion 58 which includes two forwarding extending prongs 60. Each prong 60 has an aperture. Cross member 54 takes the form of an elongated pin portion 64 and a cross prong portion 66 located at approximately the mid-point of the pin portion. The prong on the cross member has an aperture. When the apertures in the yoke and cross-member are aligned, hinge pin 56 can be passed through the apertures so to rotatably join yoke member 52 to cross member 54. This allows relative rotation as shown in Fig. 3, where head 22 is rotated from a front corner forward position, shown in solid lines, to a rear edge forward position, shown in phantom lines.

[0028] Pin portion 64 of cross member 54 is placed through apertures 41 in two raised portions 40 of pad 36 so to operably and rotatably join cross member 54 to head assembly 22. This allows rotation of the head assembly in counterclockwise direction and clockwise directions perpendicular to the movement allowed by hinge pin 56. Apertures in raised portions 40 of base 38 are aligned so that when pin portion 64 is held within the apertures, its axis passes through the area of front corner 42 and approximately through the

midpoint of rear edge 44. The axis of hinge pin 56 is perpendicular to the axis of cross pin 66. This alignment allows easier and more ergonomic control of the pad and the cleaning element when the user moves the cleaning apparatus directly forward and back, since telescoping shaft 18, cross pin 66 of universal joint assembly 20 and head assembly 22 are aligned.

[0029] Cross pin 66 and hinge pin 56 are held in place by conventional means, such as by shoulders 68, 70 on the pins or cotter pins (not shown).

[0030] Another embodiment of the head area of the glass cleaning apparatus is shown in Figs. 6 - 9. In this embodiment, head assembly 122 corresponds to head assembly 22, shown in Figs. 3 and 5. However, to move the pivot axis of the handle closer to the pivot axis of the cross member, the universal joint assembly is reconfigured. In this universal joint assembly 120, the hinge pin 156 has tubelike portions 166 extending outwardly from a central area of the hinge pin. Portions 166 are offset downwardly, i.e., toward the working surface 148, from the axis of hinge pin 156, as best shown in Fig. 8. Each forked portion 158 of the yoke member 152 has a button 154 that fits snugly and rotatably within tubelike portions 166. In this embodiment, the yoke is assembled on the hinge pin by flexing forked portions 158 outwardly to slide buttons 166 over then within tubelike portions 166 of the hinge pin. Movement of the buttons within the tubelike portions creates an axis of rotation for the yoke relative to the hinge pin along the center of the tubelike portions. This axis of rotation is within the circumference of the hinge pin, yet slightly lower than the axis of rotation of the hinge pin relative to the head.

[0031] In operation, assembly 10 used to easily and ergonomically apply a force to clean a glass surface 12. As best shown in Figs. 4 and 5, handle 18 is adjusted to its desired length. This occurs by first unlocking member 30 by rotating it in a counter-clockwise direction 32. The lower and upper shaft members can then be telescopically slid relative to one another to their desired length. Locking member 30 is then rotated in a clockwise direction 32 to frictionally secure the two shaft portions at their desired position. The user then grasping the shaft moves the cleaning apparatus as desired, applying the necessary force through universal joint assembly 20 and head assembly 22 to

cleaning element 24 as it contacts the glass. Because of the axis of cross pin 66 passes through front corner 42 of pad 36 and the midpoint of rear edge 44, the user has the most control and can apply the most pressure in a forward and rearward movement of the apparatus which is normally the most comfortable method of moving the apparatus. This allows control and pressure to be applied to the front corner for reaching into narrower areas, or if the head is rotated, the wide rear edge for cleaning wider swaths of glass.

[0032] While embodiments of the invention have been illustrated and described, it is not intended that these embodiments illustrate and describe all possible forms of the invention. Rather, the words used in the specification are words of description rather than limitation, and it is understood that various changes may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention.