US 3516110 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
5. E. NILSSON June 23, 1970 1 HORIZONTAL TANK-TYPE VACUUM CLEANER HAVING SOFT COVERING Filed NOV. 14, 1966 IN VEN TOR IQ mA ULJ-W United States Patent Olhce 3,516,110 Patented June 23, 1970 3,516,110 HORIZONTAL TANK-TYPE VACUUM CLEANER HAVING SOFT COVERING Bengt Erik Nilsson, Hagersten, Sweden, assignor to Aktieholaget Electrolux, Stockholm, Sweden, a corporation of Sweden Filed Nov. 14, 1966, Ser. No. 594,128 Claims priority, application Sweden, Nov. 18, 1965, 14,919/65 Int. Cl. A47l /00 US. Cl. 15-325 1 Claim ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE In horizontal tank-type vacuum cleaners, a dust collecting member and motor-fan unit are disposed within a casing through which air is circulated. The casin usually is formed of metal or rigid plastic having a hard outward surface which may be damaged and also may injure or damage furniture or walls with which it accidentally comes in contact during use. To effectively reduce such injury and damage, the hard outward surface of the casing is provided with a soft covering formed of material that yields and moves inward responsive to physical force applied to its outward surface. The soft covering, which may be formed of elastomeric material, includes an inner portion and an outer portion, the inner portion being softer than the outer portion and recessed to enhance its softness.
BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION In accordance with this invention an improvement is provided for effectively reducing the likelihood of damaging the hard outward surface of a horizontal tank-type vacuum cleaner and also for effectively reducing the likelihood of damaging and injuring walls or furniture with which the vacuum cleaner accidentally comes in contact during use. This is accomplished by providing for the hard outward surface of the casing of the vacuum cleaner 2. soft covering having an inner portion and an outer portion, the inner portion being softer than the outer portion. Further, the inner and outer portions of the soft covering are formed of elastomeric material. The inner portion of the soft covering may be recessed to enhance its softness. This may be accomplished by providing at the inner portion of the soft covering spaced partitions which may intersect one another and bear against the outward surface of the casing and have gaps therebetween which define recesses. Also, the inner portion of the soft covering may be provided with a plurality of elements or projections which are normal to the outer portion of the covering and spaced from one another and have their outer free ends bearing against the outward surface of the casing.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWING In the drawing, FIG. 1 is a side elevational view, partly in section, of a household vacuum cleaner embodying the invention;
FIG. 2 is an enlarged fragmentary sectional view of the vacuum cleaner shown in FIG. 1 to illustrate details more clearly;
FIG. 3 is a sectional view taken at line 3-3 of FIG. 2; and
FIGS. 4, 5, 6 are sectional views similar to FIG. 3 illustrating modifications of the invention.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION Referring to the drawing, the invention is shown applied to a horizontal tank-type vacuum cleaner 9 comprising an open-ended casing 10 and front and rear end covers 11 and 12, respectively, which are removably secured to the casing 10 in any suitable manner. The casing 10 includes a top wall 10b, bottom wall and spaced vertically extending side walls 10d therebetween, one of which is shown in FIG. 1. The top 10b and side walls 10d define an inverted U-shaped component of the cleaner. The top wall 10b of the casing 10 is provided with a handle 14 and suitable runners 15 to facilitate movement thereof on a supporting surface. The part of the casing 10 at the vicinity of the front end cover 11 is adapted to receive a dust collecting member 16. During operation of the vacuum cleaner, air is drawn into the interior of the casing 10 through an air inlet 17 in the front end cover 11 by a motor-fan unit 18 supported within the casing adjacent to the dust collecting member 16. Dust and dirt entrained in air during a cleaning operation collect in the dust collecting member 16, and air free of such dust and dirt passes through the member 16 and flows through the casing and is eventually discharged by the motor-fan unit 18 through an air outlet 19 in the rear hood 12.
The casing 10, which is formed of sheet metal provides a support for the motor-fan unit 18 and other parts, such as the dust collecting member 16, front end cover 11, and rear hood 12, for example, which are housed within the casing or detachably connected thereto. The casing 10 has a hard outer surface 10a which may be damaged and also may injure and damage furniture and walls with which it accidentally comes in contact during manipulation of the vacuum cleaner during a cleaning operation.
In accordance with the invention, there is provided for the hard outer surface 10a of the casing 10 an elastomeric covering 20 which is formed of compressible material that yields and moves inward responsive to physical force applied to its outer surface. In the embodiment illustrated in FIGS. 2 and 3, the covering 20, which desirably may be formed of elastomeric material like rubber or plastic, for example, includes an inner portion 20a bearing against the outer surface 10a of the casing 10 and an outer portion 20b. The covering 20 desirably is formed in such manner that its inner portion 20a is more resilient than its outer portion 20b. By providing a covering 20 of this kind, the outer portion 20b thereof, although resilient in character, is less resilient than the inner portion 20a thereof and provides an exterior surface which possesses to a small degree some of the physical characteristics of a conventional vacuum cleaner having a hard outer surface. At the same time the inner portion 20a of the covering 20, which is soft to a higher degree than the outer portion 20b thereof, yields and readily moves inward responsive to physical force applied to the outer surface of the covering 20 when the vacuum cleaner accidentally is moved against furniture and walls during a cleaning operation.
In the embodiment being described and illustrated in FIGS. 2 and 3, the outer portion of the covering 20b of the covering 20 is imperforate and provides a layer of material overlying the hard outer surface 10a of the casing 10. The exterior surface 20b of the outer portion 20b may be smooth or formed to provide a decorative surface which is pleasing in appearance. As seen in FIG. 2, the exterior surface 20b may be formed with a plurality of raised portions 20b adjacent to one another.
In order to provide the inner portion 20a which is softer than the outer portion 20b, the inner portion 20a may be recessed by providing a number of intersecting partitions 20c which are spaced from and perpendicular to one another in checkerboard fashion to provide a plu rality of cavities or recesses 20d having their open ends closed by the hard outer surface 10a of the casing 10. The partitions 200, which may be referred to as elements, are
3 normal to the outer portion 20b and elongated and essentially coplanar with. the outer portion and extend inward toward the casing 10 and have their outer free ends 20e terminating and bearing against the hard outer surface 10a of the casing 10.
By providing the partitions 200 which readily fiex when the covering 20 moves inward responsive to physical force applied thereto, the likelihood of damaging or injuring floors and walls with which the vacuum cleaner accidentally comes in contact is effectively reduced. The covering 20 also possesses the advantage that any surface irregularities that are formed when the vacuum cleaner 10 is fabricated, such as by rivets and welded joints, for example, are effectively taken up by the soft covering. Further, the soft covering 20 functions to attenuate noise produced during operation of the motor-fan unit 18. This is due to the fact that the soft covering is formed of compressible material which is porous. Also, the cavities in the inner portion 20b thereof, when the covering is positioned against the hard outer surface 10a of the casing 10, form a plurality of closed cells which are disposed about the casing 10 and envelope that part of the casing in which the motor-fan unit 18 is housed.
FIGS. 4, and 6 illustrate other embodiments of the invention. In FIG. 3 the partitions 20c extend in parallel straight lines and are perpendicular to one another. In the embodiment of FIG. 4 the horizontal partitions 20c extend in straight lines parallel to one another and the vertical partitions perpendicular thereto are of zig-zag shape. Hence, the cavities 20d in each horizontal row in FIG. 4 are offset vertically with respect to the cavities in the horizontal rows adjacent thereto.
In FIG. 5 the partitions 20c" intersect one another in such manner that the cavities 20d" are of diamond shape.
,In FIG. 6 the elements 200' are in the form of pins or projections which are spaced from one another and extend inward and bear against the outer surface 10a of the casing. Hence, the modification of FIG. 6 also provides a recessed inner portion 2011" of the soft covering which is softer than the outer portion of the covering.
In each of the embodiments shown and described, the degree of softness of the inner portion of the covering may be readily determined by varying the thickness of the partitions and by varying the cross-sectional areas of the pins or projections which, in turn, determines the crosssectional areas of the cavities and the degree of softness of the inner portion of the covering. Instead of providing intersecting partitions or individual elements to form the recessed inner portion of the soft covering, each partition may be elongated and continuous in character and sinuous or of serpentine form to provide the recessed inner portion of the soft covering.
What is claimed is:
1. A horizontal tank-type vacuum cleaner comprising (a) an elongated open-ended casing formed of sheet metal having a hard outer surface, said casing having a top, bottom and spaced vertically extending side walls therebetween, the top and side walls of said casing defining an inverted U-shaped component of the cleaner,
(b) front and rear end covers mounted on said casing at opposite ends thereof and respectively having air inlet and outlet openings,
(c) a motor-fan unit in said casing for moving air therethrough between the air inlet and outlet openmgs,
(d) an elastomeric covering formed of compressible material which overlies substantially all regions of saidinverted U-shaped component and comprises an outer portion of sheet-like form and an inner portion which is integral therewith and includes spaced elements which project from said outer portion to the hard outer surface of said casing, the inner extremities of said elements bearing against the hard outer surface of said casing which serves as a backing for said covering,
(e) said outer portion of sheet-like form being less resilient than said elements of said inner portion and providing an exterior surface which possesses at least some of the physical characteristics of a conventional tank-type vacuum cleaner having a hard outer surface,
(f) said elements of said inner portion flexing when said covering moves inward responsive to physical force applied thereto, and
(g) said covering enveloping said motor-fan unit in said casing and functioning to attenuate noise produced by said motor-fan unit during operation of the cleaner.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,325,903 8/1943 Blair et a1. 2,575,554 11/1951 Langille 15325 X 3,026,224 3/1962 Rogers 161116 X 3,270,365 9/1966 Waters et a1. -a 15-325 ROBERT F. BURNETT, Primary Examiner R. O. LINKER, JR., Assistant Examiner US. Cl. X.R.