Snow shovel

A snow shovel/pusher for pushing snow forward or to one side or the other, the snow shovel having a blade and a shaft wherein the blade is connected to the shaft with a yoke mechanism for pivotally retaining the shovel blade at various side to side angles relative to the shaft, the shovel blade being pivotable relative to the shaft in a horizontal plane on a vertical central blade axis perpendicular to the working surface. The yoke mechanism is angled upward relative to the working surface to retain the shaft at a constant desirable working angle with respect to the working surface during use and during pivotal movement of the shovel blade relative to the shaft. The snow shovel also includes a releasable locking mechanism operable for releasing and relocking the shovel blade at various side to side angles relative to said shaft between an extreme right and an extreme left position.

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Description

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application is a continuation-in-part of application Ser. No. 11/416,130, filed May 3, 2006, still pending.

TECHNICAL FIELD

The present invention relates generally to snow shovels and snow pushers and in particular to a snow shovel/pusher having a blade and a shaft, wherein the blade is pivotable in a horizontal plane along a side-to-side arch with respect to the shaft and the shaft maintains a constant angle with respect to the blade.

BACKGROUND

The common snow shovel or pusher has been around for years and generally comprises a large flat or curved blade for pushing snow lying on a horizontal working surface such as a sidewalk or driveway. A shaft is rigidly affixed at a 90 degree angle to the back of the blade and is angled upward for gripping by a user standing behind the blade. One disadvantage of this type of snow shovel is that since the blade is fixed rigidly at a 90 degree angle to the shaft, it is only useful for pushing or shoveling snow in a forward direction. The problem is that snow tends to build up in front of the blade when being pushed forward in this manner. To push snow to the side, the user has to twist his or her body to the left or right, thereby straining the back and neck muscles and risking injury.

Another disadvantage of the common snow shovel or pusher occurs when working against a wall or fence. To move the snow away from a wall one must angle the blade sufficiently with respect to the wall so as to direct the snow away from the wall and allow it to slide off the shovel. However, one is impeded in this movement by contact between the shaft of the shovel and the wall, which prevents the attainment of a sufficient working angle for efficient movement of the snow away from the wall.

One solution is described in U.S. Pat. No. 4,597,204, which provides a snow pusher having a handle pivotally attached to an angled latch plate at the back of a blade, allowing the angle of the handle relative to the length of the blade to be adjusted. This allows the blade to be positioned at an angle with respect to the shaft for pushing snow to the side. However, the problem with this design is that in order to keep the shovel blade flat and parallel to the ground during use, the user has to lower the working angle of the shaft relative to the ground. This puts the user in an awkward position relative to the blade and could cause strain and injury.

A further disadvantage of the common snow shovel or pusher is that the normal working surface is usually made of asphalt or concrete and is often irregular, having cracks and raised areas. Therefore, the blade tends to wear rather quickly and/or become damaged, necessitating replacement of the blade or, in most cases, the entire shovel. Other components of the common snow shovel are likewise not replaceable, so that when a part breaks or wears out it cannot be easily replaced. In the past, the only solution has been to replace the entire shovel with a new one.

SUMMARY

Accordingly, in view of the foregoing, there is a need for a snow shovel or snow pusher that will overcome the disadvantages of the prior art.

There is a further need for a snow shovel or pusher having a blade that is pivotable in a horizontal plane right and left with respect to the shaft on a central axis perpendicular to the working surface.

There is additionally a need for a snow shovel or pusher having a blade that is pivotable in a horizontal plane right and left with respect to the shaft while at the same time maintaining the shaft at a constant working angle relative to the working surface to prevent strain and injury to the user.

There is also a need for a snow shovel having a pivotable blade and a releasable locking mechanism operable for releasing and relocking the blade at various angles relative to the shaft and wherein releasing the locking mechanism is accomplished with only a slight movement of the user's hand or foot and does not require great effort.

There is a further need for a snow shovel having a pivotable blade as described above, wherein the releasable locking mechanism can be released remotely using a trigger mechanism within easy reach of the user.

There is also a need for a snow shovel having a reversible, two-sided blade with two working edges, so that when one working edge wears or breaks, the blade can be turned around or reversed to expose or activate the second working edge.

There is a further need for a snow shovel having replaceable parts so that when one part breaks or wears out the worn or broken part can be easily replaced.

According to one aspect then, there is provided a snow shovel for pushing snow on a generally horizontal working surface, the snow shovel comprising: an elongated shaft for gripping by a user during use; a shovel blade having a front side and a rear side and a horizontal bottom working edge for engaging the working surface during use, the rear side of the shovel blade attached to one end of the shaft with a yoke mechanism for pivotally retaining the shovel blade at various angles relative to the shaft, the shovel blade being pivotable relative to the shaft in a horizontal plane on a vertical central blade axis perpendicular to the working surface; and a releasable locking mechanism operable for releasing and relocking the shovel blade at the various angles relative to the shaft between an extreme right and an extreme left position.

According to another aspect, there is provided a snow shovel for pushing snow on a generally horizontal working surface, the snow shovel comprising: an elongated shaft for gripping by a user during use, the shaft having a proximal end and a distal end and a central longitudinal axis; a yoke having a proximal end and a distal end, the proximal end of the yoke connected to the distal end of the shaft; a shovel blade having a front side and a rear side and an elongated horizontal bottom working edge for engagement with the working surface during use, the rear of the shovel blade pivotally connected to the distal end of the yoke for pivotable movement of the shovel blade relative to the shaft in a horizontal plane on a vertical central blade axis perpendicular to the horizontal bottom working edge; and a locking mechanism for locking the shovel blade at various angles relative to the shaft during use between an extreme right position and an extreme left position, the proximal end of the yoke being angled vertically upward relative to the working surface to thereby retain the shaft at a constant working angle with respect to the working surface during use and during the pivotal movement of the shovel blade relative to the shaft between the extreme right and the extreme left positions.

In other aspects, the yoke is angled vertically upward relative to the working surface to thereby retain the shaft at a constant desirable working angle with respect to the working surface during use and during pivotal movement of the shovel blade relative to the shaft. The shovel blade may be symmetrically constructed about a central horizontal blade axis parallel to the horizontal bottom working edge and the shovel blade may also have a horizontal top working edge oriented opposite the horizontal bottom working edge, the shovel blade being removably connected to the yoke thereby permitting the shovel blade to be reversed, resulting in the engagement of the top horizontal working edge with the working surface during use.

In further aspects, the locking mechanism may include at least one lock tab for selective engagement with one of a plurality of lock slots on the shovel blade. Engagement of a lock tab with one of the plurality of lock slots will lock the shovel blade and prevent the pivotal movement of the shovel blade relative to the shaft. The lock tab may be spring biased for positive retention of the lock tab in a selected one of the plurality of lock slots during use. The locking mechanism may also include a release mechanism for temporarily disengaging the lock tab from the selected one of the plurality of lock slots to thereby permit the pivotal movement of the shovel blade relative to the shaft so as to permit repositioning of the shovel blade relative to the shaft. The locking mechanism may include a lever lock comprising a first end and a second opposite end and be pivotally connected to the yoke at a pivot point located between the first end and the second end, and a lock tab may be located on the first end of the lever lock and a release arm may be located on the second end, so that pressing downward on the release arm will result in the disengagement of the lock tab from the selected one of the plurality of lock slots.

In other aspects, the locking mechanism may be a rotation lock rotatably secured to the yoke, the rotation lock including the at least one lock tab thereon, the rotation lock being rotatable between a first locked position where the lock tab is engaged with the selected one of the plurality of blade lock slots and a second, unlocked position wherein the lock tab is disengaged from the selected one of the plurality of blade lock slots, to thereby permit the pivotal movement of the shovel blade relative to the shaft so as to permit repositioning of the shovel blade relative to the shaft. A remote mechanism, such as a cable connected between the rotation lock and a release lever, may be included for remotely moving the rotation lock between the first, locked position and the second, unlocked position. The cable may be located on an interior of the elongated shaft and the release lever may be located within easy reach of the user, such as at the end of the shaft opposite the yoke mechanism.

In other aspects, the locking mechanism may be a lock bar slidably secured within the yoke, the lock bar having at least one lock tab. The lock bar is slidable in the yoke between a locked position where one or more of the lock tabs are engaged with one or more of the blade lock slots and an unlocked position where one or more of the lock tabs are disengaged from the blade lock slots, to thereby permit the pivotal movement of the shovel blade relative to the shaft so as to permit repositioning of the shovel blade relative to the shaft. The lock bar may include a release bar, connected between the lock bar and the yoke, for moving the lock bar between the locked position and the unlocked position. Further, a remote mechanism may be included for remotely moving the release bar and the lock bar between the locked position and the unlocked position. The remote mechanism may be a cable connected between the release bar and a trigger mechanism which may be conveniently located within easy reach of the user. The cable may be located on the interior of the shaft and the trigger mechanism may be located at the end of the shaft opposite the yoke.

In still further aspects, the snow shovel blade may have a support bar connected between the right and left sides of the blade, where the support bar is slidable in a horizontal support bar channel through the yoke or through the yoke and lock bar, as the shovel blade is pivoted left and right on a horizontal plane. The support bar may include a plurality of support bar/blade lock slots for engagement with the one or more lock tabs of the locking mechanism.

In further aspects, the snow shovel may include stop means to prevent the pivotal movement of the shovel blade relative to the shaft beyond the extreme right and the extreme left positions when the releasable locking mechanism is not engaged. The shaft may be removably connected to the yoke and the yoke may be removably connected to the shovel blade to permit selective replacement of the shovel blade, the yoke and the shaft.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The applicant's snow shovel will be further understood from the following description with reference to the drawings in which:

FIG. 1 is an exploded, perspective view of one embodiment of the applicant's snow shovel showing the various main components thereof.

FIG. 2 is a perspective rear view of the blade of the snow shovel shown in FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is a perspective front view of the blade of the snow shovel shown in FIG. 1.

FIG. 4 is a side plan view of the blade of the snow shovel shown in FIG. 1.

FIG. 5 is a top cross sectional view of the blade of the snow shovel shown in FIG. 1, viewed along the line marked A in FIG. 4.

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of the handle of the snow shovel shown in FIG. 1.

FIGS. 7 and 8 are left and right side perspective views, respectively, of the yoke of the snow shovel shown in FIG. 1.

FIG. 9 is a perspective view of the torsion spring of the snow shovel shown in FIG. 1.

FIG. 10 is a side perspective view of the lever lock of the snow shovel shown in FIG. 1.

FIG. 11 is a side plan view of the lever lock of FIG. 10.

FIG. 12 is a side plan view of an assembled version of the applicant's snow shovel shown in FIG. 1, with the handle portion removed.

FIGS. 13a, 13b, and 13c are top plan views of the applicant's snow shovel of FIG. 1, showing the various positions of the blade as the blade is pivoted on a horizontal plane right (FIG. 13a) and left (FIG. 13c) with respect to the shaft. FIG. 13b shows the blade in the standard, central position, oriented at a 90 degree angle with respect to the shaft.

FIG. 14 is a rear perspective, partial cut-away view of another embodiment of the applicant's snow shovel, showing the pivotal attachment of the yoke to the back of the blade. The blade shown in FIG. 14 includes additional reinforcement ribs, and the shaft has been partially cut-away.

FIG. 15 is a side perspective, partial cut-away view of a further embodiment of the applicant's snow shovel, showing an alternate design for the pivotal attachment of the handle to the blade. The shaft has been partially cut-away.

FIG. 16 is a rear side perspective, partial cut-away view of another embodiment of the applicant's snow shovel, showing a further alternate design for the pivotal attachment of the handle to the blade. The shaft has been partially cut-away.

FIG. 17 is a top plan view of the snow shovel shown in FIG. 15.

FIG. 18 is a top plan view of the snow shovel shown in FIG. 15, including the addition of a remote release mechanism.

FIG. 19 is a side cross sectional view of the blade of the snow shovel shown in FIG. 17, viewed along the line marked B/C in FIG. 17. The lock bar is shown in the locked, working position.

FIG. 20 is a side cross sectional view of the blade of the snow shovel shown in FIG. 17, viewed along the line marked B/C in FIG. 17. The lock bar is shown in the unlocked position.

FIG. 21 is a side cross sectional view of the blade of the snow shovel shown in FIG. 18, viewed along the line marked D/E in FIG. 18. The lock bar and release bar are shown in the locked, working position.

FIG. 22 is a side cross sectional view of the blade of the snow shovel shown in FIG. 18, viewed along the line marked D/E in FIG. 18. The lock bar and release bar are shown in the unlocked position.

FIG. 23 is a top plan view of the snow shovel of FIG. 16, from the perspective of a user, showing the blade rotated on a horizontal plane to the right or clockwise with respect to the shaft.

FIG. 24 is an exploded, perspective view of another embodiment of the applicant's snow shovel showing the various main components thereof.

FIG. 25 is a perspective rear view of the blade of the snow shovel shown in FIG. 24.

FIG. 26 is a perspective front view of the blade of the snow shovel shown in FIG. 24.

FIG. 27 is a top plan view of the blade of the snow shovel shown in FIG. 24.

FIG. 28 is cross sectional view of the blade of the snow shovel shown in FIG. 24, viewed along the line marked F/G in FIG. 27, showing the locking mechanism in a locked, working position.

FIG. 29 is cross sectional view of the blade of the snow shovel shown in FIG. 24, viewed along the line marked F/G in FIG. 28, showing the locking mechanism in an unlocked position.

FIGS. 30-32 are left side, bottom and right side perspective views, respectively, of the yoke of the snow shovel shown in FIG. 24.

FIG. 33 is a perspective view of the rotation lock of the snow shovel shown in FIG. 24.

FIG. 34 is a perspective view of the support bar of the snow shovel shown in FIG. 24.

FIG. 35 is a side cross-sectional view of the handle of the snow shovel shown in FIG. 24, showing the release lever in the locked, working position.

FIG. 36 is a side cross-sectional view of the handle of the snow shovel shown in FIG. 24, showing the release lever in the unlocked position.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

In the following discussion, reference to a working surface is generally to a flat driveway or sidewalk, which will be considered as being generally on a horizontal plane. A user standing on the working surface is generally oriented in a vertical direction perpendicular to the horizontal plane of the working surface.

FIG. 1 is an exploded view of the applicant's snow shovel or pusher 10, including a blade 12 for pushing or shoveling snow on the above-mentioned generally horizontal working surface and an elongated shaft 14 for gripping by a user, the shaft having a proximal end 15 and a distal end 13 and a central longitudinal axis “A”. A handle 16 may be fitted onto the proximal end 15 of shaft 14 and secured using a handle fastening means 17.

The distal end 13 of shaft 14 is secured to a proximal end 21 of an angled yoke 22 using a shaft fastening means 19. Yoke 22 is angled vertically upward with respect to the working surface, the angle of yoke 22 being calculated to provide a desirable upward working angle with respect to the working surface for the user gripping shaft 14 to work the snow shovel. A releasable locking mechanism comprising a lever lock 24 and a torsion spring 26 are pivotally secured to yoke 22 with a pin or bolt 25 (as will be discussed in further detail below).

The blade 12 is pivotally secured to a distal end 23 of the yoke 22 using a blade fastening means 30. As shown in FIGS. 14, 12 and 14, blade 12 has a horizontal bottom working edge 12a. Advantageously, blade 12 also has an oppositely-oriented horizontal top working edge 12b and may be curved between bottom edge 12a and top edge 12b so as to facilitate the pushing and shoveling of snow. Blade 12 may be symmetrically shaped about a central horizontal blade axis “C” parallel to the top and bottom edges 12a and 12b, as shown in FIG. 3. This symmetrical shape provides blade 12 with the same working profile regardless of whether edge 12a is used against the working surface, or the blade is turned over and edge 12b is used.

Blade 12 may include multiple vertical reinforcing ribs 32 and at least two horizontal reinforcing ribs 34 (see FIG. 2). Vertical reinforcing ribs 32 intersect with horizontal reinforcing ribs 34, to form a central cavity 36 having an upper yoke attachment plate 38, a lower yoke attachment plate 39, and two side walls 40 and 41. Additional reinforcing ribs 33, which may be oriented other than horizontally or vertically, as shown in FIG. 14, may be added to the blade to provide further stability.

Blade 12 is generally made from plastic, but may in the alternative be constructed of any suitable material, including steel or aluminum or any other suitable alloy or a polymer composite material. If made from plastic or a composite material, blade edges 12a and 12b may be reinforced with a metal strip to prevent wear. The metal strip may be a V-shaped strip secured to the blade edges.

As shown in FIG. 5, upper yoke attachment plate 38 includes an upper pivot hole 42 for alignment with a yoke pivot hole 56 (see FIGS. 7 and 8) for pivotal attachment of yoke 22 to the rear side of blade 12. Yoke attachment plate 38 includes at least three upper blade lock slots 44a, 44b, and 44c for alignment with a yoke lock slot 58 (see FIGS. 7 and 8) and a locking tab 66 on lever lock 24 (see FIGS. 10 and 11). As shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, lower yoke attachment plate 39 has the same matching configuration of at least three lower blade lock slots for alignment with yoke lock slot 58 and locking tab 66 when blade 12 is turned over, and a lower pivot hole for alignment with yoke pivot hole 56 for pivotal attachment of yoke 22 to the rear side of blade 12.

The reader will appreciate that the above-mentioned handle and shaft fastening means 17 and 19 may be any suitable fastening means such as a bolt, screw, rivet or nail. Advantageously, fastening means 17 and 19 should be suitable to permit the removal and replacement or reorientation of the secured parts. Advantageously, blade fastening means 30 is a pivot means, suitable to permit blade 12 to rotate or pivot in a horizontal plane right (clockwise—from the perspective of the user) and left (counter-clockwise) relative to the central longitudinal axis “A” of shaft 14 on a vertical central blade axis “B”, defined by fastening means 30. Central blade axis “B” is perpendicular to blade edges 12a and 12b and to the working surface and central horizontal blade axis “C”. Blade fastening means 30 may be any suitable means such as a threaded fastening means (bolt), a rivet or a pin. In particular, the applicant has found it advantageous if blade fastening means 30 is also designed to be removable so as to permit blade 12 to be flipped over to engage the upper edge 12b with the working surface.

FIG. 6 shows handle 16, which may be any of various common configurations, providing a working grip for the user. Handle 16 may be secured to the proximal end 15 of shaft 14 through a hole 50 using handle fastening means 17, which may be a screw, a bolt, a rivet or a nail. In the alternative, handle 16 could be affixed to the shaft by any suitable means, including by glueing or by forming the handle as an integral part of the shaft.

FIGS. 7 and 8 show left and right side views of yoke 22. Distal end 13 of shaft 14 is fitted into a suitable opening 52 in the proximal end 21 of yoke 22 and secured using shaft fastening means 19, which may be a screw, a bolt, a rivet, or a nail inserted through shaft fastening hole 54. Alternatively, shaft 14 could be affixed to yoke 22 by any suitable means, including by glueing or by forming shaft 14 as an integral part of yoke 22. As noted, yoke 22 is angled vertically upward with respect to the working surface, so as to provide a desirable upward working angle for shaft 14 with respect to the working surface. An important advantage of the applicant's snow shovel is that this working angle remains constant regardless of the amount of rotation of blade 12 left or right with respect to the shaft.

The distal end 23 of yoke 22 is inserted into central cavity 36 of blade 12, and pivotally secured to the rear side of blade 12 using blade fastening means 30, which is inserted through upper pivot hole 42 in upper yoke attachment plate 38, through yoke pivot hole 56, and through a corresponding lower pivot hole in the lower yoke attachment plate 39. Upon pivotal attachment to blade 12, yoke lock slot 58 will come into selective alignment with the upper blade lock slots 44a, 44b, and 44c on upper plate 38 as the blade 12 is pivoted to the left, to the right, or to the center. When blade 12 is turned around or reversed, yoke lock slot 58 will respectively align with the corresponding lower blade lock slots in the lower plate 39.

As shown in FIGS. 1, 10 and 11, lever lock 24 includes locking tab 66 at one end and a release arm 68 at an opposite end. Lever lock 24 and torsion spring 26 are pivotally secured to yoke 22 with pin 25 through holes 60 in yoke 22 and holes 62 in lever lock 24. Spring 26 is retained between a set of retaining ribs 64 on yoke 22 and a similar set of retaining ribs (not shown) located on the underside of release arm 68. Lever lock 24 is angled to conform to the angle of yoke 22, and locking tab 66 is positioned to fit into yoke lock slot 58 when attached to yoke 22. Spring 26 creates a positive bias on lever lock 24, forcing lock tab 66 into yoke lock slot 58.

Pressing down on release arm 68 will raise lock tab 66 clear of yoke lock slot 58, permitting the distal end 23 of yoke 22 to be inserted into central cavity 36 and secured to blade 12, as shown in FIG. 14. Upper plate 38 is positioned between the top of yoke 22 and the bottom of lever lock 24. Lock tab 66 is aligned with one of blade lock slots 44a, 44b, and 44c and release arm 68 is let go, thereby engaging lock tab 66 with yoke lock slot 58, through upper plate 38 and securing blade 12 in one of three angled positions relative to shaft 14, thereby preventing rotation of blade 12 relative to shaft 14 during use.

When it becomes desirable to rotate blade 12 in a horizontal plane left (counter-clockwise) or right (clockwise) relative to central longitudinal axis “A” of shaft 14 (see FIG. 1), one merely presses down on release arm 68 to raise lock tab 66 clear of yoke lock slot 58 and upper blade lock slots 44a, 44b, and 44c on upper plate 38. Blade 12 is rotated to the desired position, aligning yoke lock slot 58 with another one of the upper blade lock slots 44a, 44b, and 44c, and release arm 68 is let go to once again engage lock tab 66 with yoke lock slot 58 and prevent further rotation of blade 12. Due to the downward bias of lock tab 66 created by torsion spring 26, release arm 68 need only be pressed briefly, sufficient to permit lock tab 66 to clear upper plate 38 as blade 12 is rotated. Once lock tab 66 aligns with an adjacent upper lock slot 44a, 44b, and 44c, lock tab 66 will automatically engage with yoke lock slot 58, and blade 12 will be once again locked into the desired angled position, ready for work.

The applicant has shown blade 12 having three blade lock slots 44a, 44b, and 44c on upper and lower plates 38 and 39, however, it will be appreciated that additional blade lock slots could be used to provide a greater selection of possible angles for positioning blade 12 side-to-side relative to shaft 14. The amount, and therefore the angle of rotation of blade 12 right and left relative to shaft 14 is limited by side walls 40 and 41 of cavity 36, which act as stop means when they come in contact with the sides of yoke 22. Side walls 40 and 41 function to limit the rotation of yoke 22 beyond the extreme left and right positions, and thereby provide stability to the shovel when blade 12 is in an angled position relative to shaft 14.

In operation, shovel 10 will normally be used in the standard configuration shown in FIG. 13b, where lock tab 66 is engaged with upper lock slot 44b and blade 12 is positioned at a 90 degree angle relative to shaft 14. If the user desires to move snow to the left, blade 12 can be angled left relative to shaft 14, as shown in FIG. 13c, by pressing down on release arm 68, raising lock tab 66 clear of lock slot 44b. Blade 12 is pivoted to the left so as to align lock tab 66 with upper lock slot 44c. The user then lets go of release arm 68 causing lock tab 66 to engage with upper lock slot 44c and yoke lock slot 58. To move snow to the right, the same steps are followed, except blade 12 is pivoted to the right and lock tab 66 is engaged with upper lock slot 44a.

One advantage of the applicant's snow shovel 10 is that since lock tab 66 is positively biased into yoke lock slot 58, pivoting of blade 12 to a different position is easily accomplished by a single, brief downward press on release arm 68 with the user's hand or foot. Once lock tab 66 has cleared one of the upper blade lock slots 44a, 44b, and 44c in which it was engaged, and blade 12 is rotated slightly, release arm 68 can be let go and will automatically re-engage with the adjacent upper lock slot once re-alignment is attained.

Another advantage of the applicant's snow shovel is evident when working against a wall or fence. To move snow away from a wall on the user's right, the user merely has to rotate blade 12 to the left with respect to shaft 14. The user can continue to push the shovel forward with the shaft 14 directly parallel to the wall, thereby causing the snow to slide off the blade 12 to the left and away from the wall.

A further advantage of the applicant's snow shovel 10 is that the blade 12 is constructed symmetrically about horizontal blade axis “C”, having two working edges 12a and 12b and identical top and bottom yoke attachment plates 38 and 39. Blade fastening means 30 is removable, thereby allowing blade 12 to be turned around when one of the working edges has worn out or becomes damaged so that the opposite working edge can be engaged with the working surface. Once both working edges have worn, blade 12 can be removed and replaced with a new blade. Advantageously, all the other parts of snow shovel 10, including yoke 22, lever lock 24, torsion spring 26, shaft 14 and handle 16, are removably secured as well making them easily replaced when worn or broken.

Another important advantage is that when blade 12 is rotated in a horizontal plane, side-to-side with respect to shaft 14, on vertical central blade axis “B”, keeping edge 12a (or 12b as the case may be) parallel to the working surface, shaft 14 is maintained at a constant working angle relative to the working surface, thereby reducing strain and preventing injury to users.

FIG. 15 shows a further embodiment of the applicant's snow shovel or pusher 100, including a blade 112 for pushing or shoveling snow on a generally horizontal working surface, the blade having lower and upper horizontal edges 112a, 112b, and an elongated shaft 114, the shaft having a proximal end (not shown) for gripping by a user, a distal end 113 and a central longitudinal axis “A”. A handle, similar to handle 16 shown in FIG. 6, may be attached to the proximal end (not shown) of shaft 114. The distal end 113 of shaft 114 is secured to a shaft plate 120 at a suitable working angle. Upper and lower shaft connecting flanges 121, 123 are welded to the shaft plate 120 at 90 degree angles.

A pivot yoke 128 is provided having an upper pivot plate 124, a lower pivot plate 126 and a central pivot bolt 130. Lower shaft connecting flange 123 is pivotally connected to lower pivot plate 126 by pivot bolt 130. Upper connecting flange 121 is fixedly connected to upper pivot plate 124.

Upper and lower blade connecting flanges 132, 134 are secured at 90 degree angles to a blade plate 136 fixed to the middle of the rear of blade 112. Upper blade connecting flange 132 is pivotally connected to the upper pivot plate 124 of yoke 128 by pivot bolt 130 and the lower blade connecting flange 134 is fixedly connected to lower pivot plate 126.

A series of opposing, spaced-apart lock holes 140 are provided near the outer perimeter of lower pivot plate 126, and at least two opposing, spaced-apart lock holes 142 are provided in upper pivot plate 124. Two spaced-apart lock pins 150 are fastened together at the top with a lock pin top plate 152. Lock pins 150 are dimensioned and spaced-apart sufficiently so that they can be inserted through lock holes 142 and 140 opposed across the diameter of upper and lower pivot plates 124, 126, for slidable movement therein. Lock pin top plate 152 is fitted with a lock pin grip 154, which can be used to easily raise or lower the lock pins. Lock pins 150 are further fastened together with a lock pin lower plate 156 to assist in stabilizing the lock pins to facilitate their insertion into lock holes 140 in lower pivot plate 126.

When lock pins 150 are raised up and clear of lock holes 140 in lower pivot plate 126, blade 112 and lower pivot plate 126 are free to rotate. Blade 112 rotates in a horizontal plane, left (counter-clockwise from the perspective of the user) or right (clockwise) relative to central longitudinal axis “A” of shaft 114 on a vertical central blade axis “B”, defined by pivot bolt 130. Central blade axis “B” is perpendicular to blade edges 112a and 112b and to the working surface. As in the previous embodiment described above, pivot bolt 130 may be any suitable means such as a threaded fastening means (bolt), a rivet or a pin.

One skilled in the art will appreciate that the same function as described above can be accomplished if lower shaft connecting flange 123 is fixedly (rather than pivotally) connected to lower pivot plate 126 and upper shaft connecting flange 121 is pivotally (rather than fixedly) connected to upper pivot plate 124, while upper blade connecting flange 132 is fixedly (rather than pivotally) connected to the upper pivot plate 124 and the lower blade connecting flange 134 is pivotally (rather than fixedly) connected to lower pivot plate 126. In this alternate configuration, when lock pins 150 are raised up and clear of lock holes 140 in lower pivot plate 126, blade 112 and upper pivot plate 124 are free to rotate left or right with respect to shaft 114 as desired.

Shovel 110 can be used in the normal fashion for pushing snow in a forward direction by orienting blade 112 at a 90 degree angle relative to shaft 114 so that shaft plate 120 is parallel to blade edges 112a, 112b. Lock pins 150 are engaged with lock holes 140 in the lower pivot plate 126 preventing blade 112 from rotating. When it becomes desirable to rotate blade 112 in a horizontal plane left (counter-clockwise) or right (clockwise) relative to central longitudinal axis “A” of shaft 114, one raises lock pins 150 clear of lock holes 140 in lower pivot plate 126 and rotates blade 112 to the desired left or right position. Once lock pins 150 are realigned with a different pair of opposing, space-apart lock holes 140 in lower pivot plate 126, the lock pins 150 are inserted into the new set of lock holes 140 and further rotation of blade 112 is prevented. The shovel is now ready to direct snow to the left or right as desired. Lock pins 150 may be constructed with a spring bias connection to the top pivot plate 124 or the pivot bolt 130 to assist in automatically engaging lock pins 150 with lower lock holes 140 and to maintain their position therein during operation.

In FIG. 15, the applicant has shown lower pivot plate 126 having three pairs of opposed spaced-apart lock holes 140, however, it will be appreciated that additional pairs of opposing lock holes 140 could be provided to offer a greater selection of possible angles for positioning blade 112 side-to-side relative to shaft 114.

FIGS. 16-23 show a third embodiment of the applicant's snow shovel or pusher 310. Since many of the components of the third embodiment are identical to components of the first embodiment shown in FIGS. 1-14, some of the same reference numerals will be used in FIGS. 16-23 to show the same components.

In FIG. 16, snow shovel 310 includes blade 12, elongated shaft 14 and handle 16 fitted to proximal end 15 of shaft 14 (in FIGS. 16-23, the handle 16 and proximal end 15 of shaft 14 are not shown but would be identical to those same elements shown in FIG. 1).

A distal end 13 of shaft 14 is secured to a proximal end 321 of an angled yoke 322. Yoke 322 is angled vertically upward with respect to the working surface, similar to the angle of yoke 22 shown in FIG. 1. As in the first embodiment, the angle of yoke 322 is calculated to provide a desirable upward working angle with respect to the working surface for the user gripping shaft 14 to work the snow shovel. An important advantage of the applicant's snow shovel is that this working angle remains constant regardless of the amount of rotation of blade 12 left or right with respect to the shaft. Another important advantage that the angled yoke 322 provides, is that it limits, to a certain extent, the amount of snow that can be carried in blade 12. The angle of yoke 322 (and of yoke 22 shown in FIG. 1), combined with the curvature of blade 12, limits the ability of a user to tip blade 12 backwards for the purpose of loading it with an excess of snow. The result is that the user is not able to pickup and throw large amounts of snow. This can be an important consideration, particularly for elderly persons, or those with weak backs, as it prevents them from over exerting themselves and limits possible injury.

As shown in FIG. 16, and more particularly in FIGS. 19 and 20, a releasable locking mechanism, comprising a “double-J-shaped” lock bar 324 is slidably secured within a vertical main yoke lock channel 327a and a vertical secondary yoke lock channel 327b in yoke 322, with a spring 326 (see FIGS. 19 and 20) and a spring plate 325 secured to the bottom of yoke 322. Lock bar 324 includes rear lock bar tab 366a and upper and lower front lock bar tabs 366b, and 336c, respectively. Upper and lower front lock bar tabs 366b, and 336c are positioned to slide up and down within secondary yoke lock channel 327b, while rear lock bar tab 366a is positioned to slide up and down within main yoke lock channel 327a. Spring 326 creates a positive bias on lock bar 324, forcing lock tabs 366a, 366b and 366c upward as shown in FIG. 19. Pushing downward on yoke 322, in direction “D” as shown in FIG. 20, causes lock bar 324 to slide downward in yoke lock channels 327a and 327b. Once pressure is released on the top of yoke 322, lock bar 324 will return to its resting, locked/working position as shown in FIG. 19.

One will appreciate that lock bar 324 may be “single-J-shaped” and may have only one of upper and lower lock tabs 366b and 366c. In both the “double-J” and “single-J” configurations, rear lock bar tab 366a is not essential and may be omitted. One will also appreciate that it would also be possible that lock bar 324 is not a “J-shaped” configuration and that only rear lock bar tab 366a is included. In this latter configuration, real lock bar tab 366a would be essential.

The blade 12 is pivotally secured to a distal end 323 of yoke 322 using blade fastening means 30. Blade 12 has the same characteristics described earlier, including horizontal bottom working edge 12a, oppositely-oriented horizontal top working edge 12b, and a curved connecting surface between edges 12a and 12b to facilitate the pushing and shoveling of snow. As shown in FIG. 3, blade 12 may also be symmetrically shaped about a central horizontal blade axis “C” parallel to the top and bottom edges 12b and 12a, permitting blade 12 to be turned over.

As previously described, blade fastening means 30 is a pivot means, suitable to permit blade 12 to rotate or pivot in a horizontal plane right (clockwise—from the perspective of the user) and left (counter-clockwise) relative to the central longitudinal axis “A” of shaft 14 on a vertical central blade axis “B”, defined by fastening means 30. Central blade axis “B” is perpendicular to blade edges 12a and 12b and to the working surface and central horizontal blade axis “C”.

Blade 12 may include multiple vertical reinforcing ribs 32 and at least two horizontal reinforcing ribs 34 (see FIG. 2). Vertical reinforcing ribs 32 intersect with horizontal reinforcing ribs 34, to form a central cavity 36 having an upper yoke attachment plate 38, a lower yoke attachment plate 39, and two side walls 40 and 41. Additional reinforcing ribs 33, which may be oriented other than horizontally or vertically, as shown in FIGS. 14 and 16, may be added to blade 12 to provide further stability.

In the applicant's third embodiment, as shown in FIG. 16, blade 12 includes additional left and right horizontal support ribs 337, located between horizontal support ribs 34, for securing a curved “U-shaped” blade support bar 350 (see also FIGS. 17 and 18, which show top plan views of snow shovel 310). Support ribs 337 are best located centrally on central horizontal blade axis “C” and positioned an equal distance on either side of fastening means 30. Support bar 350 is fastened on both the left and right sides of blade 12 using support bar fastening means 352 and is on the same horizontal plane as central horizontal bade axis “C”. The angled, bottom portion of “U-shaped” support bar 350 is inserted through a horizontal support bar channel 354 cut through both yoke 322 and lock bar 324 (see FIGS. 19 and 20) and is slidable therein as blade 12 is rotated horizontally left and right. One will appreciate that in the first embodiment of the applicant's snow shovel, as shown in FIGS. 1-14, a support bar (not shown), similar to support bar 350, could also be added to provide additional support to snow shovel 10 and blade 12. In that alternate version of snow shovel 10, support bar channel 354 would only be cut through yoke 22 and support bar 354 would be slidable therein as blade 12 is rotated horizontally left and right.

Support bar 350, which when connected becomes part of blade 12, may include at least three additional blade or support bar lock slots 355a, 355b, and 355c (see FIG. 23) for engagement with rear lock bar tab 366a as blade 12 pivots horizontally left and right. Support bar 350 provides blade 12 with additional support to prevent twisting while digging or pushing heavy loads and support bar lock slots 355a, 355b, and 355c provide a means to prevent blade rotation when engaged with rear lock bar tab 366a.

As shown in FIG. 5, upper yoke attachment plate 38 of blade 12 includes upper pivot hole 42 for alignment with a yoke pivot hole 356 (see FIG. 19) for pivotal attachment of yoke 322 to the rear side of blade 12. Upper yoke attachment plate 38 includes at least three upper blade lock slots 44a, 44b, and 44c for alignment with secondary yoke lock channel 327b (see FIG. 19) and for engagement with upper front lock bar tab 366b. As shown in FIGS. 1 and 2 and in FIGS. 19 and 20, lower yoke attachment plate 39 has the same matching configuration of at least three lower lock slots for alignment with secondary yoke lock channel 327b, and for engagement with lower front lock bar tab 366c. A lower pivot hole in lower plate 39 is also provided for alignment with yoke pivot hole 356 and upper pivot hole 42, for pivotal attachment of yoke 322 to the rear side of blade 12 using fastening means 30. As shown in FIGS. 17-20, upper plate 38 includes a lock slot cover plate 347 secured with attachment means 30 to prevent snow and ice buildup in upper blade lock slots 44a, 44b, and 44c.

In the normal, locked working position shown in FIG. 19, lock bar 324 is biased upward by spring 326 pushing against spring plate 325 so that upper front lock bar tab 366b is engaged with one of upper blade lock slots 44a, 44b, or 44c in upper plate 38 and lower front lock bar tab 366c is engaged with the corresponding lower blade lock slot in lower plate 39. Rear lock bar tab 366a is engaged with one of the at least three support bar lock slots 355a, 355b or 355c, thereby locking blade 12 in a selected working position and preventing horizontal rotation left or right. Pushing downward on lock tab 324, in direction “D” as shown in FIG. 20, causes lock bar 324 to slide downward in yoke main and secondary lock channels 327a and 327b, causing lock bar tabs 366a, 366b and 366c to disengage from the lock slots, thereby permitting horizontal rotation of blade 12. Once pressure is released on the top of yoke 322, lock bar 324 is forced upward by spring 326, and as soon as the lock bar tabs 366a, 366b and 366c come into alignment with a corresponding lock slot, lock bar 324 will return to its locked, resting/working position, as shown in FIG. 19.

One advantage of the applicant's snow shovel 310 is that due to the upward bias of lock bar 324 created by spring 326, pivoting of blade 12 to a different angled position is easily accomplished by a single, brief downward press on the top of lock bar 324 with the users hand or foot, sufficient to permit all lock bar tabs 366a, 366b and 366c to disengage their respective blade and support bar lock slots. Once lock bar tabs 366a, 366b and 366c have cleared blade and support bar lock slots and blade 12 is rotated slightly, downward pressure on the top of lock bar 324 can be released. As the blade 12 is rotated further, lock bar tabs 366a, 366b and 366c will align and automatically engage upward into adjacent blade and support bar lock slots, to once again automatically lock blade 12 into the desired position, ready for work.

A further variation of the applicant's snow shovel 310 is shown in FIGS. 21 and 22 to provide a means for remotely disengaging lock bar tabs 366a, 366b and 366c from blade and support bar lock slots, thereby permitting rotation of blade 12 without having to bend over to push downward on the top of lock bar 324. An “L-shaped” release bar 360 is pivotally connected at the angle-point 362 to yoke 322. A upper first arm 363 of release bar 360 is fastened to lock bar 324 at point 364 and a lower second arm 365 is connected to a cable 370 at a point 368. Cable 370 may be located within an internal channel 380 cut into shaft 14, and extends upward to a trigger mechanism (not shown), near the proximal end 15 of shaft 14. Release bar 360 is, secured as described above, within a grove cut into the back of lock bar 324 and into the back side of lock bar channel 327a of yoke 322.

As shown in FIG. 22, pulling upward on the trigger will pull cable 370 upward in the direction of the arrow, and move lower second arm 365 of release bar 360 upward toward the proximal end 321 of yoke 322. Release bar 360 pivots on the angle-point 362 forcing upper first arm 363 downward, driving lock bar 324 downward in lock bar channels 327a and 327b, to thereby disengage lock bar tabs 366a, 366b and 366c from blade and support bar lock slots and permit horizontal rotation of blade 12. Releasing the trigger, allows spring 326 to return lock bar 324 to its resting, locked/working position, as shown in FIG. 21, for engagement of lock bar tabs 366a, 366b and 366c with blade and support bar lock slots, thereby preventing horizontal rotation of blade 12.

FIGS. 17 and 18 show the applicant's snow shovel 310 in the locked, working position, with blade 12 perpendicular to shaft 14 and lock bar tabs 366a, 366b and 366c engaged with corresponding blade and support bar lock slots. In FIG. 23, snow shovel 310 has been rotated on a horizontal plane to the right (clockwise) so that blade 12 is positioned at an angle to shaft 14 for pushing snow to the right. In all FIGS. 17, 18 and 23, the bottom edge 12a of blade 12 remains parallel to the working surface as shovel blade 12 is pivoted relative to the shaft in a horizontal plane on vertical central blade axis “B”.

FIGS. 24-36 show a forth embodiment of the applicant's snow shovel or pusher 410. FIG. 24, which is an exploded view of applicant's snow shovel or pusher 410, includes a blade 412, an elongated shaft 414 for gripping by a user, the shaft having a proximal end 415 and a distal end 413. A handle 416 may be fitted to the proximal end 415 of shaft 414 and secured with various fastening means as previously described.

Distal end 413 of shaft 414 is secured to a proximal end 421 of an angled yoke 422 (see also FIGS. 30-32). Yoke 422 is angled vertically upward with respect to the working surface, similar to the angle of yoke 22 shown in FIG. 1 and yoke 322 shown in FIG. 16. The angle of yoke 422 is calculated to provide a desirable upward working angle with respect to the working surface for the user gripping shaft 414 to work the snow shovel. An important advantage of the applicant's snow shovel is that this working angle remains constant regardless of the amount of rotation of blade 412 left or right with respect to the shaft. Another important advantage that the angled yoke 422 provides, is that it limits, to a certain extent, the amount of snow that can be carried in blade 412. The angle of yoke 422 (and of yokes 22 and 322, shown in FIGS. 1 and 16, respectively), combined with the curvature of blade 412, limits the ability of a user to tip blade 412 backwards for the purpose of loading it with an excess of snow. The result is that the user is not able to pick up and throw large amounts of snow. This can be an important consideration, particularly for elderly persons, or those with weak backs, as it prevents them from over exerting themselves and limits possible injury.

As shown in FIG. 24, and more particularly in FIGS. 28 and 29, a releasable locking mechanism, comprising a rotation lock 424 (see FIG. 33) is rotatably secured at a central point 428 within a vertical, internal yoke lock channel 427 (see FIG. 31) of yoke 422. Rotation lock 424, comprising a lock tab 466, is secured to a front portion of yoke 422 with an extension spring 426. A rear portion of rotation lock 424 is attached at a point 468 to cable 470, which is secured at its opposite end to a cable release lever 480 (see FIGS. 24, 35, 36) attached to handle 416 within easy access to the user. Cable 470 advantageously passes through the interior of shaft 414. A yoke cover plate 425 is secured to the bottom of yoke 422 to permit access to the rotation lock and the spring for installation and replacement, and to keep out snow and ice.

Extension spring 426 creates a positive forward bias on rotation lock 424, as shown in FIG. 27, holding rotation lock 424 in a resting, locked/working position. Pulling backward on release lever 480 moves rotation lock 424 rearward into a retracted position, as shown in FIG. 29. Releasing lever 480 permits rotation lock 424 to return to the normal resting, locked/working position.

The blade 412 is pivotally secured to a distal end 423 of yoke 422 using a blade fastening means 430. As shown in FIGS. 25 and 26, blade 412 has the same characteristics described earlier, including a horizontal bottom working edge 412a, an oppositely-oriented horizontal top working edge 412b, and a curved connecting surface between edges 412a and 412b to facilitate the pushing and shoveling of snow. As shown in FIG. 26, blade 412 may also be symmetrically shaped about a central horizontal blade axis “C” parallel to the top and bottom edges 412b and 412a, permitting blade 412 to be turned over.

As previously described, blade fastening means 430 is a pivot means, suitable to permit blade 412 to rotate or pivot in a horizontal plane right (clockwise—from the perspective of the user) and left (counter-clockwise) relative to the central longitudinal axis “A” of shaft 414 on a vertical central blade axis “B”, defined by fastening means 430. Central blade axis “B” is perpendicular to blade edges 412a and 412b and to the working surface and central horizontal blade axis “C”.

Blade 412 may include multiple vertical reinforcing ribs 432 and at least two horizontal reinforcing ribs 434 (see FIG. 25). Vertical reinforcing ribs 432 intersect with horizontal reinforcing ribs 434, to form a central cavity 436 having an upper yoke attachment plate 438, a lower yoke attachment plate 439, and two side walls 440 and 441. Additional reinforcing ribs 433, which may be oriented other than horizontally or vertically, as shown in FIG. 25, may be added to blade 412 to provide further stability.

Blade 412 is generally made from plastic, but may be constructed of any suitable material, including steel, aluminum or any other suitable alloy or a polymer composite material. If made from plastic or a composite material, blade edges 412a and 412b may be reinforced with a metal stip to prevent wear. The metal strip may be a V-shaped strip secured to the blade edges.

In the embodiment, as shown in FIG. 25, blade 412 includes additional left and right horizontal support ribs 437, located between horizontal support ribs 434, for securing a curved “U-shaped” blade support bar 450 (see FIG. 34, and see also FIG. 27, which shows a top plan view of snow shovel 410). Support ribs 437 are best located centrally on central horizontal blade axis “C” and positioned an equal distance on either side of fastening means 430. Support bar 450 is fastened on both the left and right sides of blade 412 using support bar fastening means 452 and is on the same horizontal plane as central horizontal bade axis “C”. The curved, bottom portion of “U-shaped” support bar 450 is inserted through a horizontal support bar channel 454 cut through yoke 422 (see FIGS. 28, 29 and 30-32) and is slidable therein as blade 412 is rotated horizontally left and right on central blade axis “B”.

Blade support bar 450, which when connected becomes part of blade 412, may include at least three, and preferably five, blade or support bar lock slots 455a-e (see FIG. 34) for engagement with lock tab 466 of rotation lock 424 as blade 412 pivots horizontally left and right. Support bar 450 provides blade 412 with additional support to prevent twisting while digging or pushing heavy loads and blade lock slots 455a-e provide a means to prevent blade rotation when engaged with rotation lock tab 466.

As shown in FIG. 25, upper yoke attachment plate 438 of blade 412 includes upper pivot hole 442 for alignment with a yoke pivot hole 456 (see FIGS. 24 and 30-32) for pivotal attachment of yoke 422 to the rear side of blade 412. A lower pivot hole 443 in lower plate 439 is also provided for alignment with yoke pivot hole 456 and upper pivot hole 442, for pivotal attachment of yoke 422 to the rear side of blade 412 using fastening means 430. It will be appreciated that the symmetrical construction of blade 412 will permit the blade to be turned over so that both edges 412a and 412b can be used in the event one of the edges becomes damaged.

FIGS. 30-32 show left side, bottom and right side views of yoke 422. Distal end 413 of shaft 414 is fitted into a suitable opening 452 in the proximal end 421 of yoke 422 and secured using various fastening means as previously described. As noted, yoke 422 is angled vertically upward with respect to the working surface, so as to provide a desirable upward working angle for shaft 414 with respect to the working surface. An important advantage of the applicant's snow shovel is that this working angle remains constant regardless of the amount of rotation of blade 412 left or right with respect to the shaft.

The distal end 423 of yoke 422 is inserted into central cavity 436 of blade 412, and pivotally secured to the rear side of blade 412 using blade fastening means 430, which is inserted through upper pivot hole 442 in upper yoke attachment plate 438, through yoke pivot hole 456, and through corresponding lower pivot hole 443 in the lower yoke attachment plate 439.

In the normal, locked working position shown in FIGS. 28 and 35, release lever 480 is in the forward position, and rotation lock 424 is biased forward by spring 426 to engage lock tab 466 with one of blade lock slots 455a-e, thereby locking blade 412 in a selected working position and preventing horizontal rotation left or right. As shown in FIGS. 29 and 38, pulling rearward on release lever 480 in the direction of the arrow, causes rotation lock 424 to pivot rearward on point 428, disengaging rotation lock tab 466 from the selected blade lock slot 455a-e, thereby permitting horizontal rotation of blade 412. Once rearward pressure is released on the lever 480, rotation lock 424 is biased forward by spring 426. As soon as one of the blade lock slots 455a-e comes into alignment, rotation lock tab 466 will automatically engage with the support bar lock slot and rotation lock 424 will return to its locked, resting/working position, as shown in FIG. 28. Cable 470 and release lever 480 provide a convenient means for remotely disengaging rotation lock tab 466 from blade lock slots 455a-e, thereby permitting rotation of blade 412 without the user having to bend over.

One advantage of the applicant's snow shovel 410 is that due to the forward bias of rotation lock 424 created by spring 426, pivoting of blade 412 to a different angled position is easily accomplished by a single, brief rearward pull on release lever 480 sufficient to permit rotation lock tab 466 to disengage from the blade lock slots 455a-e. Once rotation lock tab 466 has cleared blade lock slots 455a-e and blade 412 is rotated slightly, rearward pressure on lever 480 can be released. As the blade 412 is rotated further, one of blade lock slots 455a-e will align and automatically engage with rotation lock tab 466, to once again automatically lock blade 412 into a desired position, ready for work.

The applicant has shown blade support bar 450 having five blade or support bar lock slot 455a-e, however, it will be appreciated that more or fewer blade lock slots could be used to provide greater or lesser selection of possible working angles for positioning blade 412 side-to-side relative to shaft 414. The amount, and therefore the angle of rotation of blade 412 right and left relative to shaft 414 is limited by side walls 440 and 441 of cavity 436, which act as stop means when they come in contact with the sides of yoke 422. Side walls 440 and 441 function to limit the rotation of yoke 422 beyond the extreme left and right positions, and thereby provide stability to the shovel when blade 412 is in an angled position relative to shaft 414.

The applicant's snow shovel as described herein may be embodied in other specific forms without departing from the spirit or essential characteristics thereof. The present embodiments are therefore to be considered as illustrative and not restrictive, the scope of the invention being indicated by the appended claims rather than by the foregoing description, and all changes that come within the meaning and range of equivalency of the claims are therefore intended to be embraced therein.

Claims

1. A snow shovel for pushing snow on a generally horizontal working surface, the snow shovel comprising:

an elongated shaft for gripping by a user during use;
a shovel blade having a front side and a rear side and a horizontal bottom working edge for engaging the working surface during use, the rear side of said shovel blade attached to one end of said shaft with a yoke mechanism for pivotally retaining the shovel blade at various angles relative to the shaft, said shovel blade being pivotable relative to said shaft in a horizontal plane on a vertical central blade axis perpendicular to the working surface; and
a releasable locking mechanism operable for releasing and relocking said shovel blade at said various angles relative to said shaft between an extreme right and an extreme left position.

2. The snow shovel of claim 1, wherein said yoke is angled vertically upward relative to said working surface to thereby retain said shaft at a constant desirable working angle with respect to the working surface during use and during said pivotal movement of said shovel blade relative to said shaft between said extreme right and said extreme left positions.

3. The snow shovel of claim 1, wherein said shovel blade is symmetrically constructed about a central horizontal blade axis parallel to said horizontal bottom working edge and wherein said shovel blade also has a horizontal top working edge oriented opposite said horizontal bottom working edge, and wherein said shovel blade is removably connected to said yoke, thereby permitting said shovel blade to be reversed, resulting in the engagement of said top horizontal working edge with the working surface during use.

4. The snow shovel of claim 1, wherein said locking mechanism includes at least one lock tab for selective engagement with one of a plurality of blade lock slots on said shovel blade, whereby engagement of said at least one lock tab with said selected one of said plurality of blade lock slots will lock said shovel blade and prevent said pivotal movement of said shovel blade relative to said shaft.

5. The snow shovel of claim 4, wherein said locking mechanism is spring biased for positive retention of said at least one lock tab in said selected one of said plurality of blade lock slots during use.

6. The snow shovel of claim 4, wherein said locking mechanism includes a release mechanism for temporarily disengaging said at least one lock tab from said selected one of said plurality of blade lock slots to thereby permit said pivotal movement of said shovel blade relative to said shaft so as to permit repositioning of said shovel blade relative to said shaft.

7. The snow shovel of claim 4, wherein said locking mechanism comprises a rotation lock rotatably secured to said yoke, said rotation lock including said at least one lock tab, said rotation lock being rotatable between a first locked position wherein said at least one lock tab is engaged with said selected one of said plurality of blade lock slots and a second, unlocked position wherein said at least one lock tab is disengaged from said selected one of said plurality of blade lock slots, to thereby permit said pivotal movement of said shovel blade relative to said shaft so as to permit repositioning of said shovel blade relative to said shaft.

8. The snow shovel of claim 7, including a remote mechanism for remotely moving said rotation lock between said first, locked position and said second, unlocked position.

9. The snow shovel of claim 8, wherein said remote mechanism comprises a cable connected between said rotation lock and a release lever, said release lever located within easy reach of the user.

10. The snow shovel of claim 9, wherein said cable is located on an interior of said elongated shaft and wherein said release lever is located at an end of said shaft opposite said yoke mechanism.

11. The snow shovel of claim 4, wherein said shovel blade has a right side and a left side relative to said central blade axis, and including a support bar connected between said right side of said rear of said blade and said left side of said rear of said blade, said support bar being slidable in a horizontal support bar channel through said yoke, said plurality of blade lock slots being located on said support bar.

12. The snow shovel of claim 4, wherein said locking mechanism comprises a lock bar slidably secured within said yoke, said lock bar including said at least one lock tab, said lock bar being slidable in said yoke between a first locked position wherein said at least one lock tab is engaged with said selected one of said plurality of blade lock slots and a second, unlocked position wherein said at least one lock tab is disengaged from said selected one of said plurality of lock slots, to thereby permit said pivotal movement of said shovel blade relative to said shaft so as to permit repositioning of said shovel blade relative to said shaft.

13. The snow shovel of claim 12, wherein said lock bar includes a release bar connected between said lock bar and said yoke, said release bar adapted for moving said lock bar between said first, locked position and said second unlocked position.

14. The snow shovel of claim 13, including a remote mechanism for remotely moving said release bar and said lock bar between said first, locked position and said second, unlocked position.

15. The snow shovel of claim 14, wherein said remote mechanism comprises a cable connected between said release bar and a trigger mechanism, said trigger mechanism located within easy reach of the user.

16. The snow shovel of claim 15, wherein said cable is located on an interior of said elongated shaft and wherein said trigger mechanism is located at an end of said shaft opposite said yoke mechanism.

17. The snow shovel of claim 12, wherein said shovel blade has a right side and a left side relative to said central blade axis, and including a support bar connected between said right side of said rear of said blade and said left side of said rear of said blade, said support bar being slidable in a horizontal support bar channel through said yoke and said lock bar.

18. The snow shovel of claim 17, wherein said support bar includes a plurality of support bar lock slots for engagement with a second one of said at least one lock tab of said locking mechanism.

19. The snow shovel of claim 4, wherein said locking mechanism is a lever lock, said lever lock including a first end and a second opposite end, said lever lock being pivotally connected to said yoke at a pivot point located between said first end and said second end, and wherein said at least one lock tab is located on said first end of said lever lock and said release mechanism is a release arm, said release arm located on said second end of said lever lock, whereby pressing downward on said release arm will result in said disengagement of said at least one lock tab from said selected one of said plurality of lock slots.

20. The snow shovel of claim 1, including stop means to prevent said pivotal movement of said shovel blade relative to said shaft beyond said extreme right and said extreme left positions when said releasable locking mechanism is not engaged.

21. The snow shovel of claim 1, wherein said shaft is removably connected to said yoke and said yoke is removably connected to said shovel blade to permit selective replacement of said shovel blade, said yoke and said shaft.

22. The snow shovel of claim 1, wherein said shovel blade has a right side and a left side relative to said central blade axis, and including a support bar connected between said right side of said rear of said blade and said left side of said rear of said blade, said support bar being slidable in a horizontal support bar channel through said yoke.

23. A snow shovel for pushing snow on a generally horizontal working surface, the snow shovel comprising:

an elongated shaft for gripping by a user during use, said shaft having a proximal end and a distal end and a central longitudinal axis;
a yoke having a proximal end and a distal end, said proximal end of said yoke connected to said distal end of said shaft;
a shovel blade having a front side and a rear side and an elongated horizontal bottom working edge for engagement with the working surface during use, the rear of said shovel blade pivotally connected to said distal end of said yoke for pivotable movement of said shovel blade relative to said shaft in a horizontal plane on a vertical central blade axis perpendicular to said horizontal bottom working edge; and
a locking mechanism for locking said shovel blade at various angles relative to said shaft during use between an extreme right position and an extreme left position,
the proximal end of said yoke being angled vertically upward relative to said working surface to thereby retain said shaft at a constant working angle with respect to the working surface during use and during said pivotal movement of said shovel blade relative to said shaft between said extreme right and said extreme left positions.

24. The snow shovel of claim 23, wherein said locking mechanism is releasable, for releasing and relocking said shovel blade at said various angles relative to said shaft.

25. The snow shovel of claim 23, wherein said shovel blade is symmetrically constructed about a central horizontal blade axis parallel to said horizontal bottom working edge and wherein said shovel blade also has a horizontal top working edge oriented opposite said horizontal bottom working edge, and wherein said shovel blade is removably connected to said yoke, thereby permitting said shovel blade to be reversed, resulting in the engagement of said top horizontal working edge with the working surface during use.

26. The snow shovel of claim 23, wherein said locking mechanism includes at least one lock tab for selective engagement with one of a plurality of blade lock slots on said shovel blade, whereby engagement of said at least one lock tab with said selected one of said plurality of lock slots will lock said shovel blade and prevent said pivotal movement of said shovel blade relative to said shaft.

27. The snow shovel of claim 26, wherein said locking mechanism is spring biased for positive retention of said lock tab in said selected one of said plurality of lock slots during use.

28. The snow shovel of claim 26, wherein said locking mechanism includes a release mechanism for temporarily disengaging said at least one lock tab from said selected one of said plurality of lock slots to thereby permit said pivotal movement of said shovel blade relative to said shaft so as to permit repositioning of said shovel blade relative to said shaft.

29. The snow shovel of claim 26, wherein said locking mechanism comprises a rotation lock rotatably secured to said yoke, said rotation lock including said at least one lock tab, said rotation lock being rotatable between a first locked position wherein said at least one lock tab is engaged with said selected one of said plurality of blade lock slots and a second, unlocked position wherein said at least one lock tab is disengaged from said selected one of said plurality of blade lock slots, to thereby permit said pivotal movement of said shovel blade relative to said shaft so as to permit repositioning of said shovel blade relative to said shaft.

30. The snow shovel of claim 29, including a remote mechanism for remotely moving said rotation lock between said first, locked position and said second, unlocked position.

31. The snow shovel of claim 30, wherein said remote mechanism comprises a cable connected between said rotation lock and a release lever, said release lever located within easy reach of the user.

32. The snow shovel of claim 31, wherein said cable is located on an interior of said elongated shaft and wherein said release lever is located at an end of said shaft opposite said yoke mechanism.

33. The snow shovel of claim 26, wherein said shovel blade has a right side and a left side relative to said central blade axis, and including a support bar connected between said right side of said rear of said blade and said left side of said rear of said blade, said support bar being slidable in a horizontal support bar channel through said yoke, said plurality of blade lock slots being located on said support bar.

Patent History

Publication number: 20070013198
Type: Application
Filed: Sep 18, 2006
Publication Date: Jan 18, 2007
Inventor: Louis-George Brazeau (Buckingham (Gatineau))
Application Number: 11/522,419

Classifications

Current U.S. Class: 294/54.500
International Classification: E01H 5/02 (20060101);