US 3789449 A
A hard surface floor cleaner which is capable of being detachably mounted to the motor housing of a vacuum cleaner is disclosed. The floor scrubber includes a liquid dispenser for flowing a quantity of liquid detergent onto the floor, a scrubbing brush, and a power driven, open cell polyurethane roll for picking up the liquid detergent and dirt from the floor. A receptacle for picked up detergent and dirt is mounted ahead of the roll and a shear blade is mounted between the receptacle and the roll. An edge of the shear blade contacts the surface of the roll for shearing detergent and dirt therefrom and depositing detergent and dirt in the receptacle. An air blast assists in drying the floor.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
[1;] 3,789,449 Feb. 5, 1974  Assignee: The Scott 1 HARD SURFACE FLOOR CLEANER  Inventors: Charles H. MacFarland; Alexander Aim ,lwltei leyekme s & Fetzer Company, Cleveland, Ohio 2,642,601 6/1953 Saffioti 15/98 643,469 2/1900 Clise 15/52 1,520,769 12/1924 Peterson 15/52 3,067,444 12/1962 Dickson et a1. 15/97 R 466,681 l/l892 Hawks 15/52 3,656,200 4/1972 Riley, .lr 15/97 R Primary Examiner-Leon G. Machlin Attorney, Agent, or Firm- McNenny, Farrington,
[5 7 ABSTRACT A hard surface floor cleaner which is capable of being detachably mounted to the motor housing of a vacuum cleaner is disclosed. The floor scrubber includes a liquid dispenser for flowing a quantity of liquid detergent onto the floor, a scrubbing brush, and a power driven, open cell polyurethane roll for picking up the liquid detergent and dirt from the floor. A receptacle for picked up detergent and dirt is mounted ahead of the roll and a shear blade is mounted between the receptacle and the roll. An edge of the shear blade contacts the surface of the roll for shearing detergent and dirt therefrom and depositing detergent and dirt in the receptacle. An air blast assists in drying the floor.
9 Claims, 7 Drawing Figures Patented Feb. 5, 1974 I 3,789,449
3 Sheets-Sheet 1 Patented Feb. 5, 1974 3 Sheets-Sheet 2 Patented Feb. 5, 1974 3 Sheets-Sheet 5 HARD SURFACE FLOOR CLEANER BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention relates to hard surface floor cleaners and, more particularly, to a device for dispensing detergent onto a floor, scrubbing the thus wetted floor, and for picking up spent detergent and dirt from the floor. Many power driven floor cleaners include a driven brush which is mounted for rotation about a vertical axis or which is mounted for rotation about a horizontal axis and a means to remove spent detergent from the floor. A typical manner in which the detergent is removed from the floor is to suck the liquid up by applying a vacuum to the floor. However, since a vacuum is created by a suction motor and fan, it is necessary to provide a liquid trap or filter to prevent liquid from entering the fan and motor. Such filters and traps add to the cost of the cleaner and are diffucult to disassemble for cleaning and emptying. In view of this added expense and inconvenience, hard surface floor cleaners which are capable of scrubbing the floor and picking up the liquid are generally employed for commercial rather than household purposes. For household use, a hard surface cleaner usually comprises a power driven brush and a liquid dispenser. The spent liquid is picked up by another implement such as a mop or sponge. With the advent of stronger detergents, however, it is not necessary to employ a strong brush scrubbing action and most of the effort involved is in drying the floor.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION This invention provides a hard surface floor cleaner which combines a scrubbing brush and a means to remove liquid from the floor in a single unit which may be detachably mounted on a conventional vacuum cleaner motor housing. Also mounted on the unit is a liquid dispenser for flowing a quantity of liquid detergent onto the floor. The liquid remover comrises a cylindrical, open cell polyurethane foam roll which is mounted for rotation in a forward-downward and rearward-upward direction around a horizontal axis. The roll contacts liquid on the floor and engrains it at its surface as the liquid is carried partially around the roll. A shear blade contacts the surface of the roll to remove liquid entrained thereon and directs the liquid to an open topped receptacle mounted ahead of the roll. A scrubbing brush is mounted behind the roll and is spring biased into contact with the floor for scrubbing action upon movement of the cleaner.
According to this invention, a floor may be scrubbed by dispensing a predetermined amount of detergent onto the floor and scrubbing the floor with a forward and backward movement of the cleaner. During this cleaning operation, the floor cleaner is tilted so that the polyurethane roll does not contact the floor but the brush is in spring biased contact with the floor. After the floor is scrubbed in this manner, the floor scrubber is tilted forwardly so that the roll may contact the floor and remove the liquid therefrom. The exhaust from the vacuum cleaner may be employed to assist in drying the floor.
If wax is to be removed from the floor, it may be necessary to permit the detergent to work on and dissolve the wax for a period of time prior to pickup by the roll. For quick cleaning jobs where wax buildup is not a problem, the detergent may be picked up immediately by the roll after scrubbing, or more economically, plain water may be applied to the floor.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a vacuum cleaner with an attachment according to this invention;
FIG. 2 is a top plan view of the attachment according to this invention with portions broken away for clarity;
FIG. 3 is a sectional view of the attachment with portions broken away for clarity, the plane of the section being indicated by the line 3-3 in FIG.'2;
FIG. 4 is a fragmentary view of a liquid dispenser according to this invention with portions in section to show details of construction;
FIG. 5 is a top plan view of the dispenser illustrated in FIG. 4;
FIG. 6 is a cross sectional view of the dispenser, the plane of the section being indicated by the line 6-6 in FIG. 4; and
FIG. 7 is a sectional view of a liquid entrainer means according to this invention illustrating liquid being removed from the floor and sheared therefrom by a shear blade.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION Referring now to the drawings, and particularly to FIG. 1, the invention is shown in combination with a vacuum cleaner 10 of conventional construction. The vacuum cleaner 10 includes an operating handle 11 and a fan casing 12 carried on rear wheels 13 and front wheels 14 (FIG. 3). Each front wheel 14 is rotatably mounted on a stub axle 15 which, in turn, is fixed to a link 16 pivotally carried by a cross shaft 17 which carries each link 16 at its ends. One link 16 has an extension 18 which comprises a toe touch control for raising or lowering the wheels 14 relative to the fan casing 12 by rotating the stub axles 15 about the cross shaft 17. Ratchet means (not shown) are provided to lock the extension 18 in a preselected position. By raising or lowering the wheels 14 relative to the fan casing 12, the front end of the casing is raised or lowered by pivoting the casing about the rear wheels 13. The fan casing 12 is provided with a tangential outlet 19 which is usually connected to a suitable dust collector such as a filter bag, but which, according to the present invention, is attached to a conduit 20. The fan casing 12 has a centrally disposed inlet opening 21 in its front face and the opening 21 is normally surrounded by the tubular conduit of a vacuum nozzle which is normally provided on such a casing. According to the present invention, however, the opening 21 is engaged by a floor cleaning housing 22. The housing 22 includes a tubular, rearwardly extending attaching portion 23 that is adapted to surround the inlet opening 21.
A pair of lugs 24 extend from the front face of the fan casing 12 and support a horizontal rod 25 a short distance below the inlet opening 21 of the fan casing. The attaching portion 23 of the housing has laterally spaced, downwardly extending lugs 26 provided on their undersides with recesses 27, which cooperate with the rod 25. On the upper edge of the attaching portion 23, an upwardly projecting flange 28 is provided. The flange 28 is engaged by a locking cam 29 which is rotatably mounted on the fan casing and is provided with a projecting handle 30 so that it may be quickly and easily turned to and from a locking position.
The housing 22 extends downwardly and forwardly to contain a resiliently mounted scrubbing brush 31, a detergent distributor 32, a power driven, cylindrical liquid-entrainer means 33, a shear blade 34, and a waste collecting receptacle 35. These units are mounted between a pair of forwardly extending side wall portions 36 of the housing 22 and, as may be seen most clearly in FIG. 3, the distributor 32 is formed from and is integral with a roll guard 37 which covers the means 33 and which is fixed to the portions 36 by screws 38. The brush 3] is fixed to one face of the distributor 32 and has a leaf spring 39 which biases the brush 31 against the floor.
To assist in the scrubbing operation and to keep the wheels 13 and 14 dry, a squeegee 31a is mounted on the rear wall of the housing 22 and maintains pressurecontact with the floor across the width of the housing. The squeegee 31a also tends to push the liquid on the floor forwardly so that it may be more readily picked up by the means 33.
The means 33 comprises a solid cylindrical core 40 having a case 41 which comprises a layer of polyurethane, open cell foam having pores per lineal inch. The foam is preferably reticulated to increase its porosity. The core is rotatably mounted on a cross shaft 42 which is fixed at its ends to the portions 36 and is driven in a counterclockwise direction as viewed in FIG. 3 by a cog belt 43. The cog belt 43 is, in turn, driven by a hollow shaft 44 which is rotatably mounted on a cross shaft 45 which is fixed at its ends to the portions 36. A twisted belt 46 has a lower loop which drivingly engages an enlarged portion 47 of the shaft 44 and has an upper loop which is drivenly engaged by a shaft 48 which extends from a fan motor (not shown) within the casing 12.
A rotatable closure member 49 is positioned in the front wall of the housing 22 and has an arm 50 which extends into the interior of the housing 22 to function as a belt lifter to remove or apply the belt 46 to the shaft 48. when the member 49 is rotated by gripping a handle 51, the arm 50 engages a portion of the belt 46 and further rotation of the member 49 lifts the belt from its shaft to disengage the belt therefrom. This arrangement permits the removal of the housing 22 from i the inlet opening 21 by removing the belt 46 from the shaft 48 and then unlocking the rotatable cam 29 so that the lugs 26 may be removed from the cross shaft 25. Further details of such a belt lifter may be found in US. Pat. No. 2,538,464.
Liquid detergent may be periodically applied to the distributor 32 by a tank 60 (FIG. 4) which may be detachably affixed to the handle 11 of the vacuum cleaner by upper and lower clips 61 and 62, respectively. The tank 60 has a cylindrical body portion 63, a funnel 64 at its upper end for filling purposes, and a lower dispensing portion 65. The funnel 64 and the body portion 63 may be formed from a suitable rigid plastic. Preferably, the body portion 63 is transparent so that the user may readily determine the level of detergent contained therein. The dispensing portion 65 is molded from a relatively flexible plastic for a purpose which will hereinafter become apparent. In the position illustrated, in solid outline in FIG. 4, a valve 66 is seated within the dispensing portion 65 so that a head portion 67 of the valve is seated within a conical valve seat surface 68 to seal the liquid within the dispenser 60. A valve stem 69 retains the head portion 67 in its closed position. To
prevent the valve 66 from being displaced from the dispensing portion 65, an annular rib 70 is provided above the valve head portion 67. The valve head portion 67 is unseated by distorting the flexible lower end of the dispenser. To this end, there is provided a cord 71 which is tied to the lower end of the dispenser and which extends through a passageway 72 to an upper pull ring 73 adjacent the funnel 64. By pulling the ring 73, the lower end of the dispenser is displaced to the phantom outline position illustrated in FIG. 4. This causes distortion of the valve seat surface 68 and thereby opens the valve 66. When the valve is opened in this manner, liquid detergent flows through a tube 74 which terminates within the receptacle 32. Liquid detergent flows from the receptacle 32 through a multiplicity of openings 75 and onto the floor.
To scrub a floor, the front wheels 14 are lowered relative to the motor housing 12 to an extent which is sufficient to raise the liquid entrainer means from contact with the floor. Since the brush'31 is spring biased, it remains in contact with the floor. A desired amount of liquid detergent is flowed onto the floor by operating the pull ring 73 to open the valve 66. With the valve 66 open, the detergent flows through the opening 75 and onto the floor where it is distributed and scrubbed into the floor by the brush 31. During this stage of the operation, the vacuum cleaner motor may be turned off since there is no need at this point to rotate the liquid entrainer means 33. After the floor has been scrubbed by the brush 31, the vacuum cleaner motor is turned on and the front wheels 14 are raised relative to the fan casing 12 so that the liquid entrainer means 33 contacts the floor. Preferably, the liquid entrainer means should be distorted somewhat by contact with the floor as is illustrated in FIG. 3.
Referring now to FIG. 7, it will be seen that, as the liquid entrainer means rotates in a counterclockwise direction, a floor contacting portion of the polyurethane case 41 is distorted as it contacts liquid on the floor. After the distorted portion rotates to a non-floor contacting position, the case will spring back to its nondistorted' condition and entrain liquid therein. Further rotation will tend to'drive the liquid radially outwardly from relatively deep entrainment within the covering to entrainment at the surface of the foam. When the surface entrained liquid reaches the blade 34, it is sheared from the covering and is caused to flow downwardly along the upper surface of the blade 34 and into the receptacle 35. To prevent splashing, a layer of polyurethane foam may be provided within the receptacle. With the liquid sheared from the polyurethane case, the polyurethane is substantially dry as it returns to contact the floor. Although the liquid tends to adhere to the surface, any splashing of the liquid will be arrested by the roll guard 37. Since the blade 34 serves to shear the liquid from the surface of the polyurethane, the edge of the blade merely touches but does not substantially distort the surface of the polyurethane. Furthermore, it should be noted that if the blade contacted the polyurethane so as to substantially distort it, the service life of the polyurethane would be relatively short since the blade would tend to chew up the polyurethane.
To assist in drying the floor, the exhaust hose 20 communicates with the interior of the housing through a fitting 81 (FIG. 2) so that an air blast is directed downwardly onto the floor. To ensure that liquid will not be sucked up into the motor through the opening 21, apertures 82 are provided in the housing 22 so that air will be drawn through those apertures rather than upwardly from the floor engaging portions of the housing 22.
After the receptacle 35 is substantially full of waste detergent and dirt, it may easily be removed from the housing 22 by loosening a pair of thumb screws 83 and by disengaging a pair of clip portions 84 of the receptacle 35 from the thumb screws.
The invention is not restricted to the slavish imitation of each and every detail set forth above. Obviously, floor cleaning devices may be provided which add, change, or eliminate certain details without departing from the scope of the invention.
What is claimed is:
l. A hard surface floor cleaning device for removing liquid from the surface of the floor comprising power driven, cylindrical liquid-entrainer means formed of flexible open cell material for picking up and entraining liquid at the periphery thereof and mounted for rotation in a forward-downward and rearward-upward direction around a horizontal axis, a receptacle for picked up liquid mounted ahead of the liquid-entrainer means, shear blade means between said liquidentrainer means and said receptacle for removing from the Iiquid-entrainer means liquid that it has picked up, said shear blade having an edge at the periphery of the liquid-entrainer means which contacts said liquidentrainer means with a substantially constant pressure and without substantial distortion thereof whereby, as said device is advanced, liquid on the floor is picked up and entrained at the periphery of the liquid-entrainer means, and each increment of liquid that is picked up and entrained at the surface of the liquid-entrainer means is carried partly around the liquid-entrainer means and sheared from the surface thereof by said shear blade.
2. A hard surface floor cleaning device according to claim 1 wherein said liquid-entrainer means has a surface comprising a flexible open cell foam.
3. A hard surface floor cleaning device according to claim 2 wherein said open cell foam is reticulated and has 30 pores per lineal inch.
4. A hard surface floor scrubber comprising power driven, cylindrical liquid-entrainer means formed of flexible open cell material for picking up and entraining liquid at the periphery of and mounted for rotation in a forward-downward and rearward-upward direction around a horizontal axis, liquid dispensing means adjacent said liquid-entrainer means for applying liquid directly onto the floor, a receptacle for picked up liquid mounted ahead of the liquid-entrainer means, shear blade means between said liquid-entrainer means and said receptacle for removing from the liquid-entrainer means liquid that it has picked up, said shear blade having an edge at the periphery of the liquid-entrainer means which contacts said liquid-entrainer means with a substantially constant pressure and without substantial distortion thereof, whereby, as said floor scrubber is advanced, liquid that has been deposited on the floor by said liquid dispensing means is picked up and entrained at the surface of the liquid-entrainer means, is carried partly around the liquid-entrainer means, and is sheared from the surface thereof by said shear blade.
5. A hard surface floor scrubber according to claim 4 wherein said liquid-entrainer means has a surface comprising a flexible, open cell foam.
6. A hard surface floor scrubber according to claim 5 wherein said open cell foam is reticulated and has 30 pores per lineal inch. 7
7. A hard surface floor scrubber according to claim 4 including floor contacting scrubbing brush means adjacent said dispenser.
8. A hard surface floor scrubber according to calim 7 wherein said dispenser is positioned between said brush means and said liquid-entrainer means.
9. A hard surface floor scrubber according to claim 7 including means to raise or lower said liquidentrainer means out of and into contact with a floor.