US 3651536 A
A vacuum cleaner of the canister variety for domestic use having lower and upper housings secured together by U-shaped clips, and an intermediate housing. Between the upper and intermediate housings is disposed a hose storage compartment within which the hose is coiled when the cleaner is not in use. A spring motivated hose reel mechanism retracts the hose into its stored position upon depression of a foot pedal. The spring is wound into an energized condition by extracting the hose from the storage area. A pawl and ratchet mechanism maintains the spring in its energized condition until the pedal is depressed. Also disclosed is a selectively operable lever controlled slide valve for converting the cleaner from suction to blower operation and vice versa. A dust bag, located within the vacuum chamber between the intermediate and lower housing, is attached to a bracket on an access door located at the bottom of the lower housing. To change the filter bag and a pair of secondary filters which are also removably mounted on the door, the cleaner is set on end and the access door opened to a table-like position. A front panel, mounted on the intermediate housing and secured to the lower housing, operably mounts the hose retraction pedal, the power switch pedal, the suction/blower levers and a filter bag change indicator.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent Bolzan, Jr. et a1.
 CANISTER VACUUM CLEANER WITH RETRACTABLE HOSE [721 lnventors: James J. Bolzan, Jr., 406 Beinewood Lane; Charles T. Fromknecht, 2007 College Ave., both of Anderson, SC. 29261  Filed: Jan. 8, 1970  Appl. No.: 1,498
 US. Cl. ..15/323, 15/327 R  ..A47l 9/00  Field ofSearch ..l5/3l5,323,327 R; 74/575  References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,551,856 9/1925 Tamarin ..15/323 2,246,863 6/1941 Smellie..... 15/323 2,641,790 6/1953 Coult ..15/3l5 2,718,655 9/1955 Cymara..... 15/315 X 3,170,185 2/1965 Segesman. ...15/347 X 3,480,987 12/1969 Schaefer.... ....15/323 FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS 355,905 8/1961 Switzerland [451 Mar. 28, 1972 Primary Examiner-Walter A. Scheel Assistant Examiner-C. K. Moore Attorney-Marshall .l. Breen and Chester A. Williams, Jr.
[5 7] ABSTRACT A vacuum cleaner of the canister variety for domestic use having lower and upper housings secured together by U-shaped clips, and an intermediate housing. Between the upper and intermediate housings is disposed a hose storage compartment within which the hose is coiled when the cleaner is not in use. A spring motivated hose reel mechanism retracts the hose into its stored position upon depression of a foot pedal. The spring is wound into an energized condition by extracting the hose from the storage area. A pawl and ratchet mechanism maintains the spring in its energized condition until the pedal is depressed. Also disclosed is a selectively operable lever controlled slide valve for converting the cleaner from suction to blower operation and vice versa. A dust bag, located within the vacuum chamber between the intermediate and lower housing, is attached to a bracket on an access door located at the bottom of the lower housing. To change the filter bag and a pair of secondary filters which are also removably mounted on the door, the cleaner is set on end and the access door opened to a table-like position. A front panel, mounted on the intermediate housing and secured to the lower housing, operably mounts the hose retraction pedal, the power switch pedal, the suction/blower levers and a filter bag change indicator.
7 Claims, 13 Drawing Figures Patented March 28, 1972- 3,651,536
7 Sheets-Sheet 1 Fig.|
p INVENTORS James J. BoIzan,Jr.
24 Charles'lfFromknechr WITNESS WWW 7W Q Patented March 28, 1972 7 Sheets-Sheet 5 INVENTOES James J. Bolzan, Jr. Charles I Fromknechf BY ZM l v TORNE Y WITNESS WMQmm Patented March 28, 1972 7 Sheets-Sheet 4 J LlLl,
m S R C m m mm M m lL r 0F. B 5. m r m0 0-" C WITNESS flag BY W ATTORNEY atented arch 28, 1972 3,651,536
'7 Sheets-Sheet 5 INVENTORS James J. Bolzan, Jr. TMWNTTTMM Char '65 T. Fromknechf WITNESS ATTORNEY atented March 28, 1972 7 Sheets-Sheet 6 Ill!! 4 ll!! /4 All/Ill! ll mm m I I INVENTORS A m We n n k R am m R T O. A B O/ J s m m MC Patented March 28, 1972 3,651,536
7 Sheets-Sheet 7 INVENTORS James J. Bolzan, Jr. Charles T. Fromknechf WITNESS CANISTER VACUUM CLEANER WITH RETRACTABLE HOSE BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION The present invention relates to vacuum cleaners and more particularly to an improved canister type of vacuum cleaner having a flexible hose operably connected to a hose reel mechanism for selectively retracting and storing the hose within the cleaner.
It is known in the prior art to provide within a vacuum cleaner a hose storage area for storing the flexible hose when not in use. The U.S. Pat. No. 3,200,432 discloses a canister cleaner having a covered hose storage compartment for storing the hose on a platform in a coiled single plane about a rotatable suction air inlet elbow to which one end of the hose is attached. To extract the hose the cover is raised and the hose is unwound manually from its stored coiled position whereupon the cover is closed whereby the hose extends through an opening formed in the front wall of the cleaner. Access to the filter bag compartment is obtained by lifting the cover and then raising the platform on which the hose is stored. Storage of the hose is accomplished manually by reversing the above procedure, thus adding to the household cleaning chores by requiring the operator to bend in order to manually coil the hose into the storage space.
The use of a reel mechanism for retracting the electric cord in a vacuum cleaner is also known in the prior art. One such cord reel mechanism being disclosed in US. Pat. No. 2,393,511. This patent discloses a vacuum cleaner with a spring biased reel for winding up the electric cord of a cleaner and is provided with a ratchet wheel for engagement by a selectively releasable pawl that prevents the cord from retracting except when it is desired to wind the cord into a stored position.
There is, however, no prior art known to the inventors in which a canister type vacuum cleaner includes a reel mechanism for retracting the hose for storage therein and especially in the manner in which the present invention accomplishes this.
SUMMARY The present invention provides a novel and improved vacuum cleaner having a frame comprising upper and lower housings and an intermediate housing secured therebetween arranged to provide a hose storage compartment, a vacuum chamber and an air-mover compartment. A hose is operably connected to a reel which is rotatably driven in the storage compartment to wind the hose about the reel to thereby retract the same into the storage compartment. There is provided a novel means of rotating the reel which comprises a coil spring secured to the frame at one end and operably connected to the reel at its other end. The spring is compressed and thus energized by extracting the hose from the storage compartments. A ratchet and pawl arrangement operably connected to the spring allows the reel to rotate in the direction to allow the hose to be extracted and prevents rotation in the opposite direction to thus keep the spring from deenergizing until the pawl is disengaged from the ratchet. A foot pedal located on the frame is operably connected to the pawl to disengage the same from the ratchet upon depression thereof, whereupon the hose is wound about the reel in the compartment.
Accordingly, it is a primary object of the present invention to provide in a vacuum cleaner a novel and improved construction and arrangement for conveniently storing a hose inside the cleaner, while leaving the hose readily accessible to the operator.
Another object of this invention is to provide in a vacuum cleaner a mechanism for coiling the hose up inside the cleaner automatically for convenient storage.
It is a further object of this invention to provide in a canister type vacuum cleaner a frame providing a hose storage compartment within which is mounted a rotatable reel to which the hose is secured so as to be wound thereon.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS The particular features and advantages of the invention as well as other objects will become apparent from the following description taken in connection with the accompanying drawings, in which:
FIG. 1 is an exploded perspective view showing the main assemblies of a vacuum cleaner embodying the novel features of the present invention, and showing the hose in its coiled position on the hose floor;
FIG. 2 is a cross sectional view of the vacuum cleaner of FIG. 1 in the vacuuming mode with the hose extracted from the storage compartment and taken substantially along the longitudinal center line thereof with certain parts broken away for clarity;
FIG. 3 is a view similar to FIG. 2 but showing the vacuum cleaner in the blower mode;
FIG. 4 is a cross sectional view of the cleaner taken substantially along line 4-4 of FIG. 2 but showing the hose in its stored position and with certain of the parts broken away;
FIG. 5 is a top plan view of the vacuum cleaner with the upper housing removed for clarity and the hose floor partially broken away and partially in section to show the blower valve which also is partially broken away, its position selector apparatus, the hose retraction ratchet and pawl, and the pawl releasing mechanism;
FIG. 6 is a partial cross sectional view of the front portion of the vacuum cleaner taken substantially along the longitudinal center line looking in a direction opposite to that of FIG. 2 and with the hose in its stored condition;
FIG. 7 is a partial view of the vacuum cleaner in perspective looking at the bottom thereof with the cleaner set on end and the filter bag door in its open position;
FIG. 8 is a section taken substantially along the line 8-8 of FIG. 5;
FIG. 9 is a section taken substantially along line 9-9 of FIG. 6 with the ratchet partially broken away and sectional to show the reel drive spring, and with the pawl in its disengaged position;
FIG. 10 is an enlarged view of a portion of FIG. 2 in the area of the reel drive and blower valve;
FIG. 11 is a view similar to FIG. 10 but for a modified vacuum cleaner not having the blower valve of the preferred embodiment;
FIG. 12 is an enlarged perspective view of the blower valve of a vacuum cleaner of the preferred embodiment with parts ofthe valve broken away to show its construction; and
FIG. 13 is a bottom plan view of the intermediate housing partially broken away and partially in section to show the blower valve and its cooperating elements.
DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENT Referring now to the accompanying drawings wherein like reference numerals denote similar parts throughout the various views, there is disclosed a canister vacuum cleaner generally designated 20 which provides air suction for household cleaning and also, has the facility of use as a blower by selectively reversing the direction of air flow through a flexible hose 21. The cleaner frame comprises an upper housing 22 including a hose floor assembly 23, a lower housing 24 and a bulkhead or intermediate housing 25 assembled in sandwich-like relationship between the first-mentioned housings. These housings 22, 24 and 25 are fitted together at their periphery by conventional means comprising a series of tongue and groove connections disposed at the sides and the rear of the cleaner housings. The upper housing 22 has formed about its periphery at the sides and at the rear a lip 26 having a tongue 27 depending downward therefrom which registers with a first groove 28 formed in a peripheral lip 29 of the lower housing 24. The lower housing 24 is provided in its lip 29 at a location spaced inwardly from the first groove 28 with a second continuous groove 30 and an upstanding tongue 31 formed therewith which register with a tongue 32 and a groove 33, respectively, formed in the underside of a peripheral flange 34 of the bulkhead 25. The bulkhead 25 is secured to the lower housing 24 by means of a pair of screws 35 at the rear of the unit and by a pair of bolts 36 and nuts 36' at the front thereof. The hose floor assembly 23 includes three bosses 37 formed thereon through each of which a screw 38 projects. Each screw is threaded into an elongated internally threaded rod 37' integral with a flange of the upper housing 22 to secure the hose floor assembly thereto. Formed on the top surface of the bulkhead are five bosses 39 each of which includes a tapped hole. The hose floor assembly also includes five holes through which pass an equal number of screws 40 which are threadedly received within the bosses 39 to secure the hose floor 23 to the bulkhead 25. The upper and lower housings 22 and 24 respectively are secured together by a plurality of U-shaped spring metal clips 41 spaced about the periphery at the sides and at the rear of the assembled housings. Each of the clips straddles the lips 26 and 29, and has an aperture 42 provided in each of its legs for engaging upper and lower bosses 43 and 44 molded respectively onto the upper and lower housing peripheral lips 28 and 29. Each of the bosses 43 and 44 is located at the outer edge of a substantially T-shaped recess 45 molded in the lip of the corresponding housing. The clips provide a quick and easy way of fastening the housings together and may be removed readily by prying them loose by means of a sharp pointed instrument inserted between the recess surface and the adjacent clip leg. A conventional bumper 19 surrounds the complete cleaner and provides the usual protection against damaging furniture, as well as additional means for sealing.
The bulkhead 25 is formed at the rear thereof with molded pockets 46 and 47 within which are respectively mounted a motor blower assembly 48 and a cord reel assembly 49,-both of which may be of any suitable standard construction. The air moving unit or motor blower assembly 48 preferably comprises a two stage fan 50 and a coaxial driving motor 51, the motor being cooled by the high air flow created by the fans. Suffice it to say that in the present preferred embodiment the air flow enters an inlet opening 52 of the fan stage and is exhausted at the motor end through a cylindrical shaped motor blower guard 53 that is formed with exhaust apertures in its cylindrical wall and is secured to the motor frame casting by means of screws 54. To minimize vibration of the motor blower is mounted resiliently in floating fashion in the cleaner. The fan end the motor blower 48 seats on an annular rubber gasket 55 secured such as by glue to the bottom of the pocket 46, while at the exhaust or motor end there is provided between the motor and the upper housing 22 a pair of disclike rubber mounts 56 (only one of which is shown) which may be fastened, such as by gluing, to the upper housing. To further isolate the motor blower from the adjacent walls of the bulkhead there is provided at the fan end a plurality of rubber mounts 57 spaced about the periphery of the fan casing pocket 46. The motor-blower is further secured by a rod 58 connected to the fan casing and to a cylindrical boss 59 on the bulkhead. The horizontally disposed cord reel 49 is conventional and is attached by means of screws to the bulkhead. Also there may be provided a system including a pressure sensitive switch 60 carried by the bulkhead and an electrically cooperating indicator light 61 secured at the front of the bulkhead to tell the operator when the filter bag has become full and should be changed. The system is conventional and does not form a part of the present invention.
A vacuum compartment, within which is located a porous filter bag 62, is formed by the walls of the bulkhead, 25 and .door the inner side thereof is of a rib construction. A molded plastic L-shaped latch 66 releasably secured the door in sealed relation to the housing at the end opposite the hinge. The bag door latch is secured to the bag door by an annular retaining ring 67 and is molded with a knurled knob 68 located outside the bag door to facilitate opening and closing of the bag door. The filter bag 62 is mounted and properly located within the vacuum compartment by a substantially rigid metal bag bracket 69 comprising three integral legs. A lower leg 70 is secured by screws 71 to the bag access door to properly position an upstanding leg 72 and an upper leg 73. The leg 73 is of a substantially U-shaped configuration and includes a series of upstanding overhanging locating tabs 74 formed on the edges of the opening. The space between the tabs and the surface of the legs 73 act as a slideway for receipt of the bag as will herein be described. To change the filter bag the cleaner is set on end, being supported in that position by a rear tab or lug 75 secured to the rear wall of the upper housing, and the door is opened to a position substantially at a right angle relative to the bottom of the cleaner as shown in FIG. 7. To hold the door in this table-like position, there is provided a hinged foldable bag door strap 76 which is secured at one end to the upstanding leg 72 of the bag bracket and at its other end to a vertical wall 77 of the lower housing. The strap includes a plurality of molded living hinges that, as shown in FIG. 6, permit the strap to fold into a substantially flat position, when the bag door is closed.
The filter bag 62 comprises a cardboard locating and mounting collar 78 that is adapted to fit into the slideway formed by the bag bracket and is positioned properly by means of the locating and positioning tabs 74 formed with the bracket. Between the mounting collar and the filter bag there is provided a spacing member 79, also made of cardboard, to prevent the filter bag from contacting the edges of the bag bracket, thereby minimizing possible tearing of the bag as it is inserted or removed. The locating collar may be provided with a finger slot 80 to facilitate handling of the bag.
In the filter bag or vacuum compartment of the cleaner, mounted for movement with the bag door, are a pair of identical secondary filters 81 and 81' each of which comprises a rectangular grid-like frame 82 formed on either side with a plurality of laterally extending alternately offset molded guide tabs 83, and at the top with a tab 84 to facilitate manipulation of the filter. The lateral tabs form a longitudinal slideway between the alternate sets thereof for positioning on the access door as will be explained. Each frame has permanently affixed thereto by suitable means a rectangular piece of open fare plastic foam 85 that provides additional cleaning of the air after it has been drawn through the filter bag by the motor blower and also serve as a protective backup filter should the filter bag rupture. Furthermore, these filters provide the main filtering of air during blower operation. The lower housing is formed with a partition wall located adjacent the pivotally mounted end of the filter bag door and which separates the vacuum compartment from the air-mover compartment. The partition wall comprises a pair of side or lateral walls 86 and 86' and a central wall 87 which together with a similar partition wall on the bulkhead, comprising a pair of side walls 88, 88' and a central wall 89, are arranged to define a pair of rectangular openings for receiving the secondary filter. To assemble the secondary filters the slideway formed by the tabs 74 thereon at one side is slid into register with an edge of leg 72 of the bag bracket 69 so that the plastic foam member is disposed in front of its respective opening in sealed abutting relation with the partition wall. The other end of the filter frame is held in position against the partition wall by means of a molded tab receiving channel 90 formed on the filter door. Thus, the secondary filters are mounted to the filter door and are readily removed for cleaning or otherwise when the filter door is swung open. Also, to further effect the sealing relationship between the lower housing and the bulkhead, in the area of partition wall along the top edge of each of the partition walls 86, 86' and 87 there is secured a seal or gasket 91 that abuts against the bulkhead partition walls 88, 88 and 89 so that all the air flowing into the fan must first pass through the filters 81.
For manipulation of the cleaner there is a conventional arrangement including a pair of fixed axis wheels 92 located at the rear and a pair of swivel wheels 93 at the front of the cleaner. Briefly, the front wheels 93 comprises a single molded plastic wheel covered with an extended plastic soft-surface thread, while the rear wheel 92 comprises a pair of rigid plastic wheels covered with an extended plastic soft-surface thread. The rear wheels are secured to the lower housing by means of the screws 35 which are threaded into the rear wheel bracket 94 while caster 95 of the front wheel is formed unitary with the securing bolt 36. Moreover, the rear wheels 92 and the tab 75 facilitate storage of the cleaner in an endwise position and allow the cleaner to be stood upon its end when cleaning areas such as steps. For further manipulation and lifting of the cleaner there is attached to the lower housing a flexible molded soft plastic handle 99 providing a soft gripping surface.
The on-off condition of the cleaner is controlled by a standard push-push type switch 100. The switch is mounted in a conventional manner to a metal plate 101 which in turn is mounted to molded bosses 102 located in a pocket 103 formed in the front of the lower housing. Actuation of the switch is accomplished through operation of a conveniently accessible hinged foot pedal 104. The pedal is formed with a pair of integral legs 105 to which are molded integral axles 106 and 106' which pivotably mount in recesses 107 and 107' molded at the front in the bulkhead and are properly held in place by a pair of laterally spaced ribs 108 and 108 that are formed with an extend downward from front panel 110.
The front panel 110 comprises a plastic cover on which are located the various graphics 1 11 for the cleaner, as well as the indicator light lens 112. The panel is secured in place by a pair of integrally molded locking tabs 113 and 113' having respective ledges 114 and 114' including respective tapered cam surfaces 115 and 115' which snap to lock with complementary overhanging flange projections 116 and 116 formed on the lower housing. The front panel also firmly secures in place a hose return pedal 117 which is mounted in a manner similar to that of the switch pedal 104. Thus, the hose return pedal 117, whose function will be discussed in later detail hereinafter, includes a pair of legs 105 to which are molded axles 118 and 118' which pivotally mount in recesses 119 and 119' molded in the bulkhead and are trapped in place by a pair of downward extending ribs 120 and 120' formed on the front panel. A pair of fingers 121 and 121' respectively extend downwardly from tabs 113 and 113' and set against shoulders 122 and 122' respectively in the lower housing. A pair of screws 123 and 123' secure the panel 110 to the bulkhead, so that the panel is properly secured to both the lower housing 24 and the bulkhead 25. The front edge of the hose floor 23 rests on the rear edge of panel 110 when the former is fitted into place. The front panel also assists in securing a pair of levers 234 and 241 used in conjunction with the conversion from vacuum mode to blower mode and whose operation and securement will be described in detail hereinafter.
The hose floor assembly generally designated 23 comprises a hose floor 124, which is a molded plastic part, having an upstanding rear wall 125 that mates with a peripheral groove 126 in the upper housing 22 and is formed with a concave central portion 127 provided with a plurality of exhaust vents or ports 128 over which is glued an open-face exhaust filter 98. A substantially circular opening 129 is located is substantially the center of the floor. When operating the cleaner as a blower the exhaust ports 128 are covered by an exhaust door 130, preferably made from metal, that pivots on an axle 131 journaled in a pair of bosses 132 secured to the underside of the hose floor. The door includes a closing portion 133 having a shape that corresponds to that of the concave central portion 127 of the rear wall 126, and a lower supporting portion 134 suitably formed with or secured to the former and which includes a pair of tabs 135 through which pass the axle 131. Formed on the lower portion 134 of the exhaust door is a curved striker portion 136 that wraps about the axle 131 in overlying fashion. The striker portion 136 includes a central groove 137 extending longitudinally thereof for purposes which will become clear later. A torsion spring 138 is secured at one end to the free end of the door striker portion and at the other end to an angle shaped boss 139 that is fastened to the hose floor so as to normally bias the exhaust door 130 downward into an inoperative position to maintain the exhaust ports 128 open. Since the operation of the exhaust door relates to the operation of the blower valve mechanism it will be discussed in conjunction therewith hereinafter. A seal 140 secured to a rib 141 on the bottom of the hose floor aids in maintaining the space forward of the seal, between the hose floor and the bulkhead, free from the exhaust air. A pair of seals 159 and 159 mounted in diagonal slots formed in the bulkhead forward of the pockets 46 and 47 further act to seal the motor-blower compartment from the front of the cleaner for purposes that will be obvious as the description proceeds.
Mounted for free rotational movement about a normal vertical axis in the circular opening of the hose floor is a substantially rigid hose elbow 142 which comprises a continuous annular flange 143 integrally molded therewith located adjacent the top of the hose floor. The elbow comprises two substantially perpendicular legs, one of which 142' extends through the floor opening and is contained therein by retaining snap ring 144 that is disposed in an annular groove integrally formed with the elbow and located adjacent the lower side of the hose floor directly above a plurality of spaced peripheral lugs or tabs 145 that extend radially outward from that end of the hose elbow. At the top the hose elbow is formed with an upwardly extending lug 146 disposed in register with a cover 147 for an open end hose storage compartment defined by the hose floor 23 assembly and the upper housing 22 including the cover 147. On the lower surface of the cover directly above the elbow lug there is formed a boss 148 having a recess 149 for receiving the lug and assisting in maintaining the hose elbow properly in place. The hose cover is provided at its rear with an upstanding portion 150 and is formed at its rear edge with a laterally extending groove or notch 151 extending between the side edges of the cover. The hose cover is assembled to the upper housing by fitting the groove into register with a lower edge 152 of the top of the upper housing and snapping the cover in place. The sides of the cover seat on lateral shelves 153 extending inwardly from each side of the upper housing. At each front corner of the hose cover is a narrow apertured boss 154 that locates in a corresponding slot 155 formed at the front of each shelf such that the aperture is disposed below each shelf. To secure the cover in place a cotter pin 156 is inserted through each aperture. The cover, of course, neednt be a part separate from the upper housing, but may be integral therewith. The feature of a removable cover aids in assembling the cleaner and also, in the event of malfunction of the retractable hose feature, the hose can be removed by guiding it out the opening at the front of the upper housing after removing the cover.
The elbow which acts as a reel is formed with an extended inclined lip 157 for helping to properly locate and guide the hose 21 as it is coiled for storage. The flexible hose is secured to the end of one leg 14 the elbow by a standard hose clamp 158. At the end of the other leg 142' of the elbow there is attached a hose winding mechanism including an annular ratchet type gear 160 having an annular hub 161. The hub has formed about its inner surface a plurality of axial slots 162 disposed for register with the lugs or tabs 145 provided on the bottom of the hose elbow. The outer surface of the annular hub 161 is formed with a slot 163 for attachment thereto of a bent end 164 of a spiral coil spring 165. Formed substantially around the opening 129 on the bottom surface of the hose floor 124 is a substantially continuous annular flange 166 that is broken away at 166' to form a spring end-receiving slot. The free end of the spring is formed with a hook 167 that operably engages an edge of the flange thereby to prevent rotation of the spring and is held against radial outward movement by a slotted lug 168 formed integral with the annular flange and firmly secures the hook end of the spring. It can thus be seen that the area between the annular hub 161 and the annular flange 166 acts as a spring casing for containing the spring 165 the coils of which lie substantially in a single plane. When the elbow is rotated in the direction (as indicated by the arrow in FIG. 9) for extraction of the hose from the hose storage compartment, the hub and integral ratchet gear rotate therewith since they are locked to the bottom of the elbow by the tabs 145 and axial slots 162. Furthermore, the tabs 145 include central peripheral grooves 169 which lock with central peripheral tongues 170 in the wall of the slots 162 to provide an axial locking of the elbow to the hub 161. As the unit rotates in the indicated direction the spring is wound up into an energy-stored or compressed condition. The gear like teeth of the ratchet are operably engaged by a bellcrank shape hose reel pawl or detent member 172 which pivotally is mounted about a fastening screw 173 that threads into a boss on the underside of the hose floor. The pawl and ratchet teeth act as a one way clutch, as will be clear as this description proceeds.
The pawl 172 comprises a ratchet wheel engaging arm 174 and an actuating arm 175 on the side of the pawl opposite from the ratchet. At the engaging arm 174 there is molded a resilient lever arm 176 the free end of which abuts against an upstanding boss 177 provided on the hose floor. The resilient lever is constructed and arranged relative to the boss so as to pivot the pawl in a clockwise direction as seen in FIG. and thus to constantly force the ratchet wheel engaging end of the pawl into engagement with the ratchet teeth. To further ensure against undesirable disengagement of the pawl from the ratchet there is mounted a bent leaf spring 178 which at one end is secured to a tab 179 on the boss 177 and has a leg 180 which always contacts arm 174 of the pawl to further properly bias the pawl into engagement with the ratchet wheel. As illustrated in FIGS. 5 and 9 the pawl permits rotation ofthe ratchet wheel and thus the hose elbow about the axis of leg 142' in the direction for hose extraction from the storage compartment as shown by the arrow in FIG. 9, but prevents free rotation thereof in the opposite direction of hose rewind. When the hose has been fully extracted and locked in position by the pawl, the spring has been wound and contains stored mechanical energy. This condition exists until the pawl is disengaged from the ratchet wheel (see FIG. 9). To accomplish this there is provided a wire release rod 182 having a first hook-shaped end 183 that engages and grasps a notch 184 formed in actuating arm of the pawl and is restrained in a guideway 185 formed on the bulkhead directly below the notch 184. The other end of the rod 182 has formed therewith a second hook 186 disposed in a plane substantially perpendicular to the hook on the other end and is hooked through an aperture 187 formed in a wall 188 in the hose return pedal 117 such that when the pedal is actuated downward by the operator against the biasing forces of a spring 189 the rod is caused to move in a direction toward the front panel of the cleaner and the pawl tends to pivot in a counterclockwise direction as seen in FIG. 5. Upon exerting sufficient force on the pawl arm 175 to overcome the tension placed by the spring 178 and the resilient arm 176 on the ratchet wheel engaging arm 174, the pawl is disengaged from the ratchet teeth. This causes the stored energy in the spring to be released and the spring to uncoil. The ratchet and elbow being free to move with expansion of the spring are forced to rotate about the axis of leg 142 in the direction of hose retraction, i.e., opposite to the direction of the arrow in FIG. 9, until the energy stored in the spring is dissipated and the system is stabilized or until the hose return pedal 117 is released thereby allowing the pawl 172 to engage the ratchet teeth. Thus, it is apparent that the hose may be extracted or retracted to any length desired between maximum extended length and complete storage. The stored position of the hose is determined by the hose coiling initially about the elbow and then about itself as the elbow rotates about the axis of leg 142' which results in the stored hose lying substantially in a single plane on the hose floor which plane is substantially perpendicular to the axis of rotation of the elbow. The lip 157 on the elbow 142 assists in properly coiling the hose into storage within the hose compartment. Thus, the flexible hose 21 is wound in a relatively flat spirally elliptical coil circumferentially around the hose elbow being located in the storage compartment between the hose cover 147 and the hose floor 124. To extend or retract the hose no entry into this hose storage compartment is required by the operator. A hose gripping handle 191 secured to the free hose end and located at the opening at the front of the storage compartment provides means for manipulating the hose from its stored position to an extracted position and similarly when returning the hose to its stored position. The handle may be locked in place at the front of the storage compartment by locating its free end behind a wall 192 extending laterally from the upper housing left side wall. The handle may be released by pushing in and slightly to the right thereby displacing the free end from behind the wall.
Located in a recess 199 formed in the bulkhead 25 and extending lengthwise of the cleaner is a blower valve 200. The recess 199 defines a slideway for the valve and is formed with a substantially central intake opening 201 aligned with the opening in the hose elbow. To provide a sealed connection between the intake opening and the filter bag 62 there is provided a cylindrical truncated tube 202 molded with the bulkhead and depending in a downward direction into the vacuum chamber. An annular gasket 203 is secured to the bulkhead about the tube 202 so that when the filter bag door 63 is closed the tube will register with the filter bag inlet 204 and the gasket will abut against the mounting collar 78 to form an airtight seal therewith. At the front end of the recess 199 are a pair of laterally spaced openings 205 and 206 which communicate with the vacuum chamber. The valve 200 is prevented from being vertically displaced from the recess 199 by the bottom lip 207 of the hose elbow and by an annular seal 208 glued on the bottom of the ratchet 160 in the vicinity of the hub 161 and which further prevents leakage past the upper surface of the valve.
The blower valve comprises a molded relatively narrow v elongated member of rectangular shape formed by a lower portion and an upper portion. The lower portion includes a bottom wall 210, a pair of side walls 211, and 212 and an end wall 213. An annular opening of substantially the same size as the bottom of the hose elbow is defined in the bottom wall 210 by a cylindrical wall 214 molded therewith. Also molded with the bottom wall is a grid-like series of ribs 215 extending upward from the bottom wall between the cylindrical wall and the end wall, and a rack arm 216 including plurality of teeth 217 extending longitudinally from the end wall. A resilient member 218 is secured to the end wall to provide a cushioning as well as a sealing effect between the valve end wall and the recess end wall when in the vacuum mode. The upper portion comprises a flat surface 219 having two apertures 220 and 221 formed therein and which is secured in a suitable manner, as by gluing, to form a top for the valve. The opening 220 of the top is disposed in register with the opening formed by the cylinder 214 so as to form a through aperture in the valve, while the other opening 221 is disposed in overlying relation to the grid-like ribs 215. It is thus clear from the valve construction that the end opposite the rack end is open and that an air passage is defined between the bottom surface 210 and the top surface 219 around the cylindrical wall 214 and up through the opening 221. At one corner at the open end of the valve secured to a boss 223 formed with the bottom wall 210 is a longitudinal metal rod 224 having a raised free end 225 disposed for contact with the groove 137 in the free end of the curved striker member 136 of the exhaust door 133 when the valve is moved into its blower position. To facilitate sliding movement of the valve, as will hereinafter be described, the bottom wall 210 has a sheet of frictionless material 226 glued thereto as does the undersurface of the ratchet 160 in the vicinity of seal 208 include such material 227.
The rack arm 216 slidably seats in a longitudinal groove 230 provided at the front of the bulkhead. Extending laterally of the groove 230 is a second groove or recess 231 formed in the bulkhead to provide a guideway for a rack 232. A triangular portion 233 is formed integral with the rack 232 and a blower control lever 234 which is provided with a knurled surface and protrudes out the front of the panel 110 for facilitating manipulation thereof. Secured at one end to the triangular portion 233 and at the other end to a boss 235 molded with the bulkhead is a torsion spring 236 which acts to normally bias the lever 234 and rack 232 to the right or in other words to a position nearest the switch pedal (see FIG. This position corresponds to the vacuum position of the blower valve (see FIG. 2).
Mounted for rotational movement on an upstanding pin 238 disposed in a recess adjacent the longitudinal groove 230 and the lateral groove 231 are a pinion 239 and gear 240 which are molded coaxially together. The pinion 239 is located above the gear and is disposed in operable engagement with the lever rack 232 while the gear 240 is in operable engagement with the rack 217 of the blower valve. Laterally spaced from the control lever on the hose return pedal side of the cleaner is a bellcrank shape molded blower control release lever 241 including on one leg thereof a manually engageable knurled portion 242 extending through the front panel. The lever 241 is pivotably mounted on a pin 243 at the front of the bulkhead 25 adjacent the pedal 117. On the free end of the other leg of the lever 241 is an upstanding projection having a tapered cam surface 244 on the top surface thereof and a tapered cam surface 245 on the edge thereof adjacent the lever crotch. Integrally formed with the hub 246 of the lever 241 is a resilient flexible arm 247 which contacts an edge 248 of the bulkhead to thereby bias the lever in a clockwise direction as seen in FIG. 5. A torsion spring 249 encoiling the hub 246, and having one end engaging a lug on the bulkhead and the other end engaging the lever by adjacent the knurl, acts with the flexible arm 247 to ensure that the release lever always returns to its desired normal position. As will be explained in detail hereinafter when the blower valve is located in its forward most position with its through aperture aligned with the elbow aperture and the inlet opening 201, the levers and their associated parts are disposed as shown in FIG. 2 and the cleaner is set for vacuum operation. To switch from vacuum to blower operation the operator moves the blower control lever from the right (FIG. 5) to the left (FIG. 13) until it locks into a position closely adjacent the blower control release lever. The triangular portion 233 of the control lever 234 is provided with a downward extending, angularly disposed camming flange 250 which upon engaging the similarly disposed cam surface 245 formed on the release lever latch causes the latter to pivot counterclockwise (as viewed in FIG. 5). As the lever 234 is further moved to the left the camming flange passes behind the upstanding portion 244 and locks therewith in the position shown in FIG. 13 until it is desired to return to vacuum operation. To revert from blower to vacuuming mode the knurled lever 242 is pressed causing the upstanding position 244 to disengage with the cam 250. The control lever 234 thereupon is returned by spring 236 to the position shown in FIG. 5 while the flexible arm 247 and spring 249 return the release lever 242 to its normal position.
It is clear that as the control lever 234 is moved by the operator its rack 232 causes the pinion 239 and thus, the gear 240 to turn clockwise as viewed in FIG. 5. Since the gear 240 operably engages the rack 217 the valve 200 is driven from its forward position where, as shown in FIG. 2, the opening 220 is in register with the hose elbow, to a rearwardly disposed blower position with the opening 221 being placed in register with the hose elbow as shown in FIG. 3. With the valve in the vacuum position the openings 205 and 206 in the bulkhead are closed by the bottom of the valve and no air can be drawn therein; however, when in the blower mode the openings 205 and 206 are uncovered and air can flow in through these ports. Furthermore, as the valve slides to the blower position the free end 225 of the valve am 224 contacts the groove 137 in the curved striker 136 and remains in contact therewith causing the exhaust door 133 to pivot upward into air sealing relation with the exhaust vents 128.
The air flow with the blower valve in its vacuum position and blower position, shown in FIGS. 2 and 3, respectively now will be described. As mentioned heretofore for vacuuming the lever 234 assumes its normal position as shown in FIG. 5 and the valve 200 is located in its forward most position in the slideway 199 and the openings 205 and 206 are effectively sealed. Thus, the through opening 220 of the valve is in alignment with the lower leg opening of the hose elbow and the inlet opening 201 of the bulkhead, thereby communicating the hose with the filter by inlet 204 via the tube 202. As shown by the arrows in FIG. 2, the vacuum created in the vacuum chamber by the fan 50 draws air through the hose 21, the hose elbow 142, the blower valve port 220, the inlet opening 201 and through a first filter comprising the air porous filter bag 62 whereupon dirt and dust particles are filtered out. The filtered air then travels through the secondary filters into the air mover chamber where the air is drawn into the inlet of the fan 50 and is forced out at the motor end of the motor blower assembly 48. Since the door is open in the vacuum mode, the air flows out through the exhaust vents 128 into the hose storage compartment which is in communication with the surrounding atmosphere.
When it is desired to use the cleaner as a blower the control lever 234 is moved toward the blower release lever until it looks in position as discussed above. The valve 200 then is positioned, as shown in FIG. 3, with the solid portion of the bottom valve surface blocking off inlet opening 201 and the exhaust door 130 covering and sealing the exhaust vents 128. In this position of the valve 200, the openings 205 and 206 of the bulkhead are uncovered and the vacuum chamber communicates with ambient air via the front of the cleaner. The vacuum created in the vacuum chamber by the fan thus draws air in through the openings 205 and 206 formed in the bulkhead. The air passes through the vacuum chamber, bypassing the bag 62, and out through the secondary filters 85 into the inlet 52 of the fan of the motor blower assembly 48 being exhausted at the motor end. Since the exhaust vents 128 are covered by the exhaust door the only way for the air to exhaust from the sealed air-mover chamber is by flowing between the hose floor and the bulkhead in the vicinity of the unsealed central portion thereof, where the valve 200 is positioned. The air thus enters the open end of the valve and is directed through the passageway defined around the cylindrical wall 214 whereupon the air passes out of the valve through the valve exhaust port 221 which in this position of valve 200 is in register with the hose elbow. The grid-like ribs 215 aid in directing the air upwardly through the opening 221 into the hose elbow whereupon the air is exhausted under positive pressure from the hose 21.
While we have shown and described but one complete embodiment of our invention, it is to be understood that this embodiment is to be taken as illustrative only and not in a limiting sense. For example, as shown in FIG. 11, the hose reel mechanism may be used in a vacuum cleaner not having the blower valve 200 and the elements associated therewith for providing a quick selective conversion from vacuum to blower mode and vice versa. In that case, as shown in FIG. 11, there would be no need to include a separate hose floor 124; the hose elbow 142 would be rotatably mounted in the bulkhead 25 with the elbow leg 142 extending through the opening 201 of the bulkhead and contained therein by retaining ring 144. The ratchet gear would thus be mounted below the bulkhead floor which would have on its bottom surface the annular flange 166 and the boss for mounting the pawl 172. The upstanding wall 125 could also be formed as part of the bulkhead. To provide a sealed connection between the hose elbow and the filter bag there could be provided a truncated tube 202 molded as part of an annular member 300 which could be secured to the bulkhead as shown in FIG. 11. Of course, the annular member may be omitted by extending leg 142' of the elbow into register with the filter bag inlet, but this is a less preferable arrangement. Another arrangement wherein the present invention may be incorporated in the vacuum cleaner which does not include a blower valve as disclosed would be to merely replace the valve 200 with a single aperture spacing member and mount the bottom of the elbow thereon.
It is thus clear that numerous other alterations of the structure herein disclosed will suggest themselves to those skilled in the art. For example, a separate motor may be utilized to selectively rotate the elbow to wind the hose thereabout. All such modifications which do not depart from the spirit of the invention are intended to be included within the scope of the claims.
Having thus set forth the nature of the invention, what we claim herein is:
l. A vacuum cleaner of the canister type comprising a lower housing, an intermediate housing secured to the lower housing defining a vacuum chamber therebetween, an air permeable filter bag having an inlet mouth mounted in said chamber, said intermediate housing having an air inlet opening therein, means communicating said air inlet opening with said filter bag inlet mouth, an air moving unit for creating a vacuum in said chamber, an upper housing mounted on said intermediate housing defining a hose storage compartment therebetween, a hose, rotatable means for communicating the hose with said air inlet opening, said rotatable means including at least an annular elbow having first and second legs, said hose being secured to and in communication with said first leg, a winding mechanism operatively connected to said second leg to rotate the same about its axis, said winding mechanism comprising a coil spring, means for securing a first end of said spring to said intermediate housing, means for securing a second end of the spring to said second elbow leg radially from said axis such that said second spring end is constrained to move with said second leg, energy being stored in said spring when said elbow rotates in a first direction upon extraction of the hose from said compartment, the spring forcing said elbow to rotate in a direction opposite said first direction upon release of said stored energy thereby to retract the hose into said compartment and wind the same about said elbow, an annular ratchet member comprising a peripheral portion and an annular hub portion, said spring having a plurality of coils disposed in a substantially common plane intermediate said peripheral and hub portions of said ratchet, a plurality of teeth spaced about the peripheral portion, the hub portion having an aperture therethrough, means for securing said hub to said second elbow leg with said leg disposed in the aperture, a pawl, means biasing said pawl into engagement with said teeth for allowing rotation of said ratchet in said first direction while restraining rotation of said ratchet in said opposite direction, and means for selectively overriding said biasing means to disengage said pawl from said teeth.
2. A vacuum cleaner as recited in claim 1 wherein said means for securing said second end of the spring includes a slot formed in a portion of said hub, said second spring end being secured in said slot to rotate therewith, said spring being compressed by rotation of said elbow in said first direction.
3. A vacuum cleaner as recited in claim 1 wherein said overriding means includes a foot pedal mounted on said lower housing 'and means operatively connecting said pedal to the pawl for forcing the pawl against said biasing means upon depression of said pedal, thereby to allow said spring to expand to a relaxed condition.
4. In a vacuum cleaner of the canister type comprising a lower housing, a bulkhead secured to said lower housing in a substantially airtight relationship defining a suction chamber therebetween, an air permeable filter bag having an inlet mouth mounted in said chamber, means defining an air inlet in said bulkhead, means communicating said air inlet with said filter bag inlet mouth, air moving means for creating a suction in said chamber, an upper housing mounted on said bulkhead, the upper housing and the bulkhead defining a storage compartment therebetween having an opening at one end thereof, and a flexible hose adapted to be stored in a coiled condition within said compartment and to be partially withdrawn therefrom through said opening, the improvement comprising: a reel rotatably mounted in said bulkhead, said reel including a neck portion journaled in said inlet and extending into said chamber, means securing said hose to said reel, said reel having means for communicating with said inlet and said hose, winding means for selectively rotating said reel when the hose is partially outside said compartment to wind said hose circumferentially about said reel whereby said hose is retracted into said compartment for storage therein, said winding means comprising a coil spring having a plurality of coils spirally disposed substantially in a single plane, said spring having an inner end and an outer end, said inner end operably secured to said reel neck portion for rotation therewith, said outer end secured to said bulkhead in said chamber, said spring coils being disposed such that rotation of said elbow including said neck in a direction to extract the hose through the opening in said compartment compresses the spring to store energy therein, whereby said spring may be gradually compressed by manually withdrawing the hose through said opening, means including a ratchet and a pawl for locking said spring in a compressed condition, said ratchet comprising an annular disk having a hub portion and a peripheral portion including a plurality of teeth spaced thereon, the hub portion having a substantially central aperture therethrough for receiving said neck, means for receiving said neck to said hub, said pawl being biased into engagement with said teeth for preventing rotation of the ratchet in the direction which the elbow rotates when the hose is retracted but allowing rotation of the ratchet in the direction which the elbow rotates when the hose is withdrawn, the inner end of said spring being secured to said hub, the coils of the spring being disposed about said hub intermediate said hub and peripheral portions, and means for releasing said pawl from said teeth thereby allowing said spring to expand toward a relaxed state and rotate said elbow in a direction to retract said hose. 5. A vacuum cleaner of the canister type comprising a lower housing, an intermediate housing secured to the lower housing in a substantially airtight relationship defining a suction chamber therebetween, an air permeable filter bag having an inlet mouth mounted in said chamber, said intermediate housing having an air inlet communicating with said filter bag inlet mouth, air moving means for creating a suction in said chamber, a hose floor assembly including a hose floor supported on and secured to said inter-- mediate housing, said hose floor having an aperture therein communicating with said air inlet, an upper housing secured to said assembly, said hose floor and said upper housing defining a hose storage compartment therebetween having a frontal opening therein, an open ended hose adapted to be stored in a coiled condition upon said floor, a hose reel including a neck portion journaled in said aperture for rotation relative to said hose floor, means securing one end of said hose to said reel for rotation therewith, the free end of said hose adapted to be extracted through said frontal opening from said stored condition, means in said reel communicating said hose with said hose floor aperture, means including a coil spring for selectively rotating said reel when said free end is outside said compartment to wind said hose about said reel, said coil spring having a plurality of coils spirally disposed in substantially a single plane, said spring having an inner end and an outer end, said inner end operably secured to said neck for rotation therewith, said outer end secured to said hose floor, said spring coils being disposed such that rotation of said reel including said neck in a first direction the spring toward said inner end to store energy, said spring upon release of said energy expanding toward said outer end to rotate said reel in a second direction opposite to said first direction, means including a ratchet and a pawl for locking said spring in a compressed condition upon extracting said free hose end through said opening, said ratchet comprising an annular disk having a hub portion and a peripheral portion including a plurality of 6. A vacuum cleaner as recited in claim 5 wherein said hose floor includes an annular flange disposed in substantially the same plane as said coils, said ratchet being hub and peripheral portions, said outer end of the spring being secured to said flange.
7. A vacuum cleaner as recited in claim 5 wherein said reel comprises an annular elbow having first and second legs, said first leg communicating with said second leg, said first leg being secured to and communicating with said one end of said hose, said second leg being rotatably mounted in and communicating with said hose floor aperture, said inner end of said spring being connected to said second leg for rotating the same about said axis.
3 33 UNITED STATES PATENT OFFICE CERTIFICATE OF CGRECEIGN Patent No. 3,651,536 Dated March 1972 Inventor(s) James J. Bolzan, Jr. and Charles T. Fromknecht It is certified that error appears in the above-identified patent and that said Letters Patent are hereby corrected as shown below:
Column 12, claim 5, line 71 after "direction" insert to'extract the hose through said frontal opening compresses Column 14, claim 6, line 3 after "being" insert mounted such that said flange is disposed intermediate said Signed and sealed this 29th day of August 1972.
ROBERT GOTTSCHALK Commissioner of Patents EDWARD M.FLETCHER,JR. Attesting Officer