Trash Container

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A trash container includes a base, a liner supported by the base to receive and store trash, a body, supported by the base, configured to house the liner, a lid hingedly mounted to the body and a pedal. A link assembly is operably connected to the pedal and the lid to translate an up-down pivot motion of the pedal to an up-down pivot motion for the lid. The link assembly includes a lift bar and at least one first arm. The link assembly provides a direct rigid connection between the pedal and the lid. At least one damper assembly is operably connected to the link assembly for dampening opening and closing motions of the lid. The at least one damper assembly includes a damper and a second arm moveably connected to the damper and the at least one first arm.

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Description

BACKGROUND

The present invention relates to household items, and in particular, to a trash container that incorporates a number of improvements and enhancements.

Trash containers are conventionally manufactured utilizing various materials such as plastic, aluminum, stainless steel and the like. The size of such containers can vary based on the location and use of the container. For example, a trash container located in a public park may be large and made of heavy material such as stone or cement with a large opening for trash. Alternatively, a trash container in an office may be made of a lightweight material such as plastic and be relatively small in size.

Trash containers often employ lids and covers to contain the trash and its associated odor, to hide the trash from view, and to prevent the trash from contaminating areas beyond the lid. Due to the nature of the disparate environments in which a trash an container is located, features of the trash containers can differ. In one environment, such as a restaurant, a swing top may be preferred whereas in a restroom a lift top lid is appropriate. In addition, the trash container can be stationary (e.g., on legs, flat bottom, etc.) or mobile, such as on wheels, to conveniently locate the trash container as desired.

Conventional trash containers have been improved over the years to make them more user-friendly, sanitary, and hygienic. For example, many trash containers are now provided with a foot pedal positioned adjacent the base of the trash container so that a user can step on the foot pedal to open the lid of the trash container, thereby freeing up the user's hands to deposit trash, or to change the plastic liner or bag that is used to line the trash container. Other trash container have even provided an interior metal or plastic liner that fits inside the trash container, and which can be removed to be washed.

However, these conventional trash containers still suffer from a number of drawbacks such as inefficient mechanisms, short product life, and the like. Such difficulties can be caused by inadequate and/or poor design. For example, the foot pedals on some of the conventional trash containers are noisy to use. In particular, stepping on a foot pedal of a conventional trash container often results in a loud banging noise as the lid is opened, and releasing the step on the foot pedal will also result in another loud banging noise as the lid slams shut under the force of gravity. These banging actions also result in wear and tear to the contacting parts.

In light of the foregoing, it becomes evident that there is a need for a trash container that would provide a solution to one or more of the deficiencies from which the prior art and/or conventional trash containers have suffered.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION

In accordance with one aspect of the present invention, a trash container includes a base, a liner supported by the base to receive and store trash, a body, supported by the base, configured to house the liner, a lid hingedly mounted to the body and a pedal. A link assembly is operably connected to the pedal and the lid to translate an up-down pivot motion of the pedal to an up-down pivot motion for the lid. The link assembly includes a lift bar and at least one first arm. The link assembly provides a direct rigid connection between the pedal and the lid. At least one damper assembly is operably connected to the link assembly for dampening opening and closing motions of the lid. The at least one damper assembly includes a damper and a second arm moveably connected to the damper and the at least one first arm.

In accordance with another aspect of the present invention, a trash can container includes a base, a liner supported by the base to receive and store trash, a body supported by the base for housing the liner, a lid hingedly mounted to the body and a pedal. A link assembly is operably connecting the pedal to the lid. A damper assembly is operably connected to the link assembly for dampening motion of the link assembly. The link assembly comprises a lift bar and an arm. The lift bar is connected to the pedal and pivotally connected the base. The arm includes a first end connected to the lift bar and a second end operably connected to the lid. The lift bar defines a pivot axis for the pedal and the arm. The lift bar and the arm provide a generally perpendicular, rigid connection from the pedal to the lid.

In accordance with yet another aspect of the present invention, a trash can container includes a base, a liner supported by the base to receive and store trash, a body supported by the base for housing the liner, a lid hingedly mounted to the body and a pedal. A link assembly is operably connecting the pedal to the lid. A damper assembly is mounted to the base and operably connected to the link assembly for dampening motion of the link assembly. The damper assembly comprises a damper, and arm and a moveable member. The arm includes a first end pivotally connected to the damper and a second end. The second end of the arm engages the moveable member, which is connected to the link assembly.

Still other aspects of the invention will become apparent from a reading and understanding of the detailed description of the preferred embodiments hereinbelow.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The present invention may take physical form in certain parts and arrangements of parts, several embodiments of which will be described in detail in this specification and illustrated in the accompanying drawings which form a part of the invention.

FIG. 1 is front perspective view of a trash container including a lid in a closed position in accordance with a first embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a partial exploded perspective view of the trash container of FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is a front perspective view of the trash container of FIG. 1 illustrating the lid in an open position.

FIG. 4 is a front elevational view, partially broken away generally along lines 4-4, of the trash container of FIG. 3.

FIG. 5 is a bottom plan view, partially broken away generally along lines 5-5, of the trash container of FIG. 3.

FIG. 6 is a partial cross-sectional view of the trash container of FIG. 1.

FIG. 7 is a partially enlarged view of FIG. 6.

FIG. 8 is a partial cross-sectional view of the trash container of FIG. 3.

FIG. 9 is a partially enlarged view of FIG. 8.

FIG. 10 is a front elevational view, partially broken away, of a trash container in accordance with a second embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 11 is a bottom plan view, partially broken away generally along lines 11-11, of the trash container of FIG. 10.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

It should, of course, be understood that the description and drawings herein are merely illustrative and that various modifications and changes can be made in the structures disclosed without departing from the scope and spirit of the invention. It will also be appreciated that the various identified components of the trash container disclosed herein are merely terms of art that may vary from one manufacturer to another and should not be deemed to limit the present invention. All references to direction and position, unless otherwise indicated, refer to the orientation of the trash container illustrated in the drawings.

Referring now to the drawings, wherein like numerals refer to like parts throughout the several views, FIGS. 1 and 2 illustrate a trash container 10 according to a first embodiment of the present invention. The trash container generally includes an outer skin or shell 20, an inner bin or liner 22 and a lid 24 hingedly mounted to the outer shell. A shroud 26 can be mounted to a top portion of the shell to provide additional support to the trash can and maintain a clean appearance and greater aesthetic appeal. A base 28 is mounted to a bottom portion of the shell. The outer shell and lid can be manufactured of a solid and stable material, such as stainless steel; although, this is not required. The trash liner, shroud and base can be a molded plastic structure; although, this is not required.

In the depicted embodiment, the outer shell 20 has a generally rectangular conformation including a front wall 30, a rear wall 32 and opposed side walls 34 and 36. Alternative conformations for the outer shell are also contemplated. For example, it is possible to provide the outer shell 20 in a generally cylindrical, oval or egg shape. As shown in FIG. 3, the inner liner 22 is adapted to be retained inside the outer shell. The inner liner can have the same, or different, shape as the outer shell. The trash liner can contain a trash bag or other receptacle that receives and stores trash disposed in the trash container 10.

With reference to FIG. 2, the base 28, which is generally employed to support the outer shell 20 and inner liner 22 of the trash container 10, includes a support 50 and a skirt or flange 52 that extends downwardly from the support. The support 50 is configured to be mounted within an interior of the outer shell. Particularly, the support 50 includes a plurality of tabs 56 projecting from an outer wall 60. As shown in FIG. 4, as a bottom portion of the outer shell 20 is positioned over the support 50, a bottom end 64 of the outer shell, which can be scrolled or include a lip, is retained by the tabs 56. It should be appreciated that alternative means for mounting the outer shell to the base 28 are also contemplated. The base 28 is contoured to locate and/or support the trash liner 22 within the outer shell 20 of the trash can 10. Particularly, disposed at a lower end of an inner wall 66 of the support 50 is a centrally located tub 68 dimensioned to receive a bottom portion 72 of the trash liner 22. In addition to supporting the trash liner 22, the tub can be a continuous closed element thereby containing leaks or spills from the trash liner. The skirt 52 of the base 28 is generally flush with the floor to eliminate tipping of the trash container 10. As shown in FIG. 5, pads 74, which can be made of rubber, can be positioned in spaced-apart manner about the periphery of the skirt 52 to prevent the base 28 from slipping. The support portion and skirt can be formed in one plastic piece; although, this is not required.

With continued reference to FIGS. 2 and 5, the base 28 further includes a recess 76 and a corresponding opening 78 configured to pivotally accommodate a foot pedal 80. It will be noted that the foot pedal 80 is positioned somewhat inside the interior of the base 28 and only a portion of the pedal extends beyond the outer periphery of the base. This positioning of the foot pedal makes the foot pedal less susceptible to being inadvertently kicked by persons walking around the vicinity of the trash container 10. Additionally, by positioning a portion of the foot pedal 80 inside the base 28, a larger pedal (i.e., a pedal with a larger stepping surface area) can be provided to create additional stepping space. This increased stepping space makes it easier for the user to step on the pedal 80 and to maintain the step. The foot pedal includes a pedal top 82 and a pedal bottom 84. The pedal top can have raised features, surface treatment or the like to provide a non-slip surface.

A link assembly 88 (illustrated in greater detail in FIG. 6) is operably connected to the foot pedal and the lid 24 to translate an up-down pivot motion of the pedal 80 to an up-down pivot motion for the lid. The link assembly extends from the foot pedal 80 along an underside of the base 28 and upwardly between the inner liner 22 and the outer shell 20 to the lid 24.

With reference again to FIG. 2, the link assembly 88 generally includes a pedal/lift bar 90 and an arm 94. The pedal the arm provide a direct, rigid, generally perpendicular connection between the pedal and the lid. The pedal bar, which is operably connected to the pedal 80, includes a base section 100 and first and second arms 110 and 112, respectively, extending from the base section. In the depicted embodiment, the base section 100 is mounted between the pedal top 82 and the pedal bottom 84. Particularly, the base section includes a U-shaped projection 114 which is mounted in a corresponding groove 118 located on at least one of the pedal top and the pedal bottom. Once positioned in the groove, the pedal bottom can be secured to the pedal top. With reference to FIGS. 4 and 5, the first arm 110 extends generally beneath the tub 68 and has a hooked open end 122 hingedly mounted to the base 28 by a first retainer 124. The second arm 112 extends adjacent the skirt 52 and has a hooked end 130 hingedly mounted to the base 28 by a second retainer 132. As a result, the pedal 80, the link assembly 88 and the arm 94 pivot about an axis defined by the hooked ends 122 and 130 which are positioned well inside the interior of the base 28. This inward position for the pivot axis requires less stepping force to open the lid 24. It should also be appreciated that alternative means for operably connecting the foot pedal to the link assembly 88 are contemplated.

With continued reference to FIGS. 4 and 6, the arm 94 has a first end 140 operably connected to the pedal bar 90 and a second end 142 operably connected to the lid 24 in a manner such that the lid pivots away the outer shell front wall 30. The arm first end 140 includes first and second opposed, extending grooves 150 and 152, respectively (FIG. 2). Each grooves is dimensioned to receive the second arm 112 of the pedal bar. This allows the arm 94 to be positioned on either side wall 34, 36 of the outer shell 20. As best illustrated in FIG. 7, a tunnel 154 can be provided at the end of the grooves. The tunnel is dimensioned to receive the hooked end 122 of the pedal bar 90. The arm second end 142 includes an aperture 156 dimensioned to receive one end of a pivot pin 160. The other end of the pivot pin is secured in a slotted opening 162 located on a flange 164 extending from the lid 24. As will be described in greater detail below, the pivot pin pivotally mounts the arm second end 142 to the lid 24. The arm 94 extends upwardly from within the base 28 through one of a pair of opposed elongated openings 170 located on the support 50. The arm can further include a plurality of strengthening ribs 172 to add further strength and stability to the arm. In the depicted embodiment, the arm 94 has a generally triangular conformation; although, this is not required. The arm can be a molded plastic structure.

With reference now to FIGS. 6-9, a damper assembly 180 is operably mounted to the base 28 and the arm 94 to dampen the opening and closing motions of the lid 24 so that the lid can open and close slowly and not experience hard slamming motions. The damper assembly includes a housing 182; a cylinder 184 located in the housing; a piston 188 partially received within the cylinder; and an arm 190 operably connected to the piston. The housing 182, which can be generally U-shaped, is removably mounted to an underside of the support 50 a predetermined distance beneath an opening 194 located on a top wall 198 of the support. The housing is configured to provides easy access for maintenance and/or replacement of components of the damper assembly 180. A first end 202 of the cylinder 184 is pivotally connected to the housing. An open second end 204 of the cylinder is adapted to partially receive the piston. Positioned within the cylinder, the piston is continuously urged outwardly by the cylinder. The linear displacement of the piston within the cylinder is damped or slowed by conventional means. As indicated above, the piston is operably connected to the arm 190. The arm, which can be generally U-shaped, is pivotally connected, generally beneath the piston connection, at a first end 210 to the housing 182. A second end 212 of the arm 190 extends outwardly from the opening 194 located on the support top wall 198.

The damper assembly 180 employs fewer components and thus, is simpler and less costly than conventional designs. For example, the mechanism is distinguished from conventional designs that employ an inefficient mechanical implementation wherein a bar extends the length of the trash container (e.g., from front to back) to connect a pedal to a vertical link. Such designs often include a plurality of components including a cushioning element to compensate for such a cumbersome mechanism.

As shown in FIGS. 7 and 9, a reciprocating member 220 is positioned on the top wall 198 above the opening 194. A first end of the reciprocating member includes an opening 222 adapted to receive the second end 212 of the arm 190. A second end of the reciprocating member is operably connected to the arm 94. Particularly, in the depicted embodiment, the second end 224 of the reciprocating member includes a generally C-shaped or curled flange 226 defining an opening 228. The opening is dimensioned to receive a connecting member 230. In this embodiment, the connecting member is a generally U-shaped including a base 232 and first and second arms 234 and 236, respectively (FIG. 2); although, this conformation is not required. The first arm is securely received in the opening 228. The second arm is securely received in an opening 240 located on the arm 94.

As shown in FIGS. 6 and 8, a bracket 250 secures the reciprocating member 220 to the support 50. The bracket includes a base 252, a first arm 254 (FIG. 2) extending generally normal from the base and a second arm 256 extending generally upwardly from the base. The base 252 is releasably mounted in a recess 260 (FIG. 2) located on the outer wall 60 of the support 50 adjacent the opening 194. The first arm is secured to the top wall 198 via conventional fasteners. The first arm includes a raised portion 266 which spans over the reciprocating member 220. In this manner, the reciprocating member is moveably secured to the support 50. A spring 270 can be coupled to the arm 94 to further provide resistance for smooth movement of the arm. In the depicted embodiment, the spring is anchored at one end to the second arm 256 of the bracket 250 and at the other end to a clip 272 mounted to the arm. It should be appreciated that alternative means for mounting the spring to the bracket and the arm are also contemplated. The ends of the spring can have a small bend to provide a locking point to keep the spring firmly connected to the arm 94 and the bracket 250. The spring aids in closing the lid 24 when the pedal 80 is in a “down” position.

The operation of the trash container 10 will now be described. When the trash container is not in use, the lid 24 is normally closed. With reference to FIGS. 6 and 7, at this first closed position, the pedal is in an “up” position and the arm is inclined towards the real wall 32 of the outer shell 20. The arm 190 is also inclined towards the outer shell rear wall by the piston 188. The respective first positions of the arm 94 and the arm 190, in turn, positions the second end 224 of the reciprocating member 220 near the first arm 254 of the bracket 250. The spring 270 is relaxed and does not exert any bias. To open the lid 24, the user steps on the pedal 80, which pivots the link assembly 88 about its axis with the pedal 80 moving vertically downward. With reference to FIGS. 8 and 9, the pedal and link assembly moves the arm 94 to a generally upright second position. As the arm 94 is pivoting towards the front wall 30 of the outer shell 20, the pin 160 slides in the slotted opening 162 of the lid 24, which in turn, opens the lid. Simultaneously, the connecting member 230, which is coupled to the arm 94 and the reciprocating member 220, moves the second end 224 of the reciprocating member away from the bracket 250. As the reciprocating member 220 moves, the arm 190, which extends partially though the opening 222 of the reciprocating member, pivots towards the outer shell front wall 30. This, in turn, pushes the piston 188 into the cylinder 184. This movement of the damper assembly 180 provides a relatively smooth opening of the lid 24. At this second opened position, the spring 270 is stretched and therefore biased. As long as the user maintains his or her step on the pedal 80, the bias of the spring and the urging of the piston in the cylinder are overcome, and the lid 24 will remain opened.

When the user releases the pedal 80, the weight of the lid 24, as well as gravity, the urging force of the damper assembly 180 and the natural bias of the spring 270, will cause the lid 24 to pivot downwardly to its closed position. Specifically, as the pedal is released, the weight of the lid causes the pin 160 to slide in the slotted opening 162 and the arm 94 to pivot back to its inclined first position. Simultaneously, the piston 188 is urged outwardly by the cylinder 204 which pivots the arm 190 towards the outer shell rear wall 32. This, in turn, moves the reciprocating member. As the second end 224 of the reciprocating member moves towards the bracket 250, the connecting member 230, which is coupled to the arm 94 and the reciprocating member, pivots the arm 94 towards the outer shell rear wall. The damper assembly will partially resist the downward vertical movement, so the entire downward motion will be slowed, which causes the lid to close slowly, and the pedal 80 will be lowered slowly, all to avoid any annoying loud slamming actions or noises.

Similar to the aforementioned embodiment, a second embodiment of a trash container is illustrated in FIGS. 10 and 11. In this embodiment, like components are identified by like numerals with a primed suffix (′) and new components are identified by new numerals.

In this embodiment, a trash container 10′ includes a pedal 80′ operably connected to a link assembly 300. Similar to the first embodiment, the link assembly generally includes a pedal bar 302 and a pair of arms 94′ that cooperate to translate an up-down pivot motion of the pedal 80′ to an up-down pivot motion for the lid 24′. The arms extend through the elongated openings 170′ of the base 28′ and are each operably connected to the lid. A pair of damper assemblies 180′ are operably mounted to the base 28′ and the arms 94′ to dampen the opening and closing motion of the lid so that the lid can open and close slowly and not experience hard slamming motions. The arms 94′ and the damper assemblies 180′ have configurations similar to that described above relative to the first embodiment.

As to a further discussion of the structure, manner of usage and operation of the second embodiment, the same should be apparent from the above description relative to the first embodiment. Accordingly, no further discussion relating to the manner of usage and operation will be provided.

The present disclosure has been described with reference to several embodiments. Obviously, modifications and alterations will occur to others upon reading and understanding the preceding detailed description. It is intended that the disclosure be construed as including all such modifications and alterations insofar as they come within the scope of the appended claims or the equivalents thereof.

Claims

1. A trash container comprising:

a base;
a liner supported by the base to receive and store associated trash;
a body, supported by the base, configured to house the liner;
a lid hingedly mounted to the body;
a pedal;
a link assembly operably connected to the pedal and the lid to translate an up-down pivot motion of the pedal to an up-down pivot motion for the lid, the link assembly including a lift bar and at least one first arm, wherein the link assembly provides a direct rigid connection between the pedal and the lid; and
at least one damper assembly operably connected to the link assembly for dampening opening and closing motions of the lid, the at least one damper assembly including a damper and a second arm moveably connected to the damper and the at least one first arm.

2. The trash container of claim 1, wherein the lift bar defines a pivot axis for the pedal and the at least one first arm, the lift bar including a projection connected to the pedal.

3. The trash container of claim 2, wherein the pedal includes a top section mounted to a bottom section, the projection being mounted in a groove located on at least one of the top section and the bottom section.

4. The trash container of claim 2, wherein the lift bar is generally U-shaped.

5. The trash container of claim 1, wherein the at least one first arm includes a first end operably connected to the lift bar, the first end including first and second opposed grooves, wherein the lift bar is received in one of the first and second grooves.

6. The trash container of claim 5, wherein the at least one first arm includes a second end operably connected to the lid, the second end being configured to receive one end of an associated pivot pin, the other end of the associated pivot pin being received in a slotted opening located on the lid.

7. The trash container of claim 1, wherein the at least one arm has a generally triangular conformation.

8. The trash container of claim 1, wherein the at least one damper assembly further includes a reciprocating member having a first end operably connected to the at least one first arm and a second end operably connected to the second arm.

9. The trash container of claim 8, wherein the second of the reciprocating member includes an opening, the second arm projecting at least partially through the opening.

10. The trash container of claim 8, further comprising a bracket, the bracket including a first section mounted to the base and a second section, the second section movably securing the reciprocating member to the base.

11. The trash container of claim 10, further comprising a spring having one end mounted to the bracket and an opposite end mount to the at least one first arm.

12. The trash container of claim 1, wherein the base includes at least one first opening and at least one second opening, the at least one first arm extending upwardly through the at least one first opening and the second arm of the at least one damper assembly extending upwardly through the at least one second opening.

13. A trash can container including a base, a liner supported by the base to receive and store associated trash, a body supported by the base for housing the liner, a lid hingedly mounted to the body, a pedal, a link assembly operably connecting the pedal to the lid and a damper assembly operably connected to the link assembly for dampening motion of the link assembly, the link assembly comprising:

a lift bar connected to the pedal and pivotally connected to the base; and
an arm including a first end connected to the lift bar and a second end operably connected to the lid,
wherein the lift bar defines a pivot axis for the pedal and the arm,
wherein the lift bar and the arm provide a generally perpendicular, rigid connection from the pedal to the lid.

14. The trash container of claim 13, wherein the lift bar is generally U-shaped including a base section and first and second arms extending from the base section in a first direction, the lift bar further including a projection extending from the base section in a second direction, the projection being mounted to the pedal.

15. The trash container of claim 14, wherein the first end of the arm includes first and second extending grooves, wherein at least one of the first and second arms of the lift bar is received in one of the first and second grooves.

16. The trash container of claim 13, wherein the second end of the arm includes an opening dimensioned to receive one end of an associated pivot pin, the other end of the associated pivot pin being received in a slotted opening located on the lid.

17. The trash container of claim 13, wherein the arm has a generally triangular conformation.

18. A trash can container including a base, a liner supported by the base to receive and store associated trash, a body supported by the base for housing the liner, a lid hingedly mounted to the body, a pedal, a link assembly operably connecting the pedal to the lid and a damper assembly mounted to the base and operably connected to the link assembly for dampening motion of the link assembly, the damper assembly comprising:

a damper; and
an arm including a first end pivotally connected to the damper and a second end, the second end engaging a moveable member, the moveably member being connected to the link assembly.

19. The trash container of claim 18, wherein the moveable member includes an opening, the second end of the arm projecting at least partially through the opening, wherein pivotal movement of the arm translates to a reciprocating movement of the moveable member.

20. The trash container of claim 18, further comprising a bracket, the bracket including a first section mounted to the base and a second section, the second section mounting the moveable member to the base.

21. The trash container of claim 20, further comprising a spring having one end mounted to the bracket and an opposite end mount to the link assembly.

Patent History

Publication number: 20080164257
Type: Application
Filed: Jan 8, 2007
Publication Date: Jul 10, 2008
Applicant:
Inventors: David J. Boll (Avon, OH), Jeffrey M. Kalman (Cleveland Heights, OH), Craig M. Saunders (Rocky River, OH)
Application Number: 11/650,815

Classifications

Current U.S. Class: Biasing Means (220/264)
International Classification: B65D 43/26 (20060101);