TRASH CAN RESTRICT TOP

The subject invention relates to a trash can that comprises a base and a liner supported by the base to receive and store trash. A body, supported by the base, houses the liner and a top comprising a support wall supported by the body and two doors rotatably supported by said top support wall, wherein each door is hinged on one side to said support wall. At least one L-shaped bracket is positioned against one top door and connected to the body via a pin. At least one lift rod with a first end operatively connected to each of the L-shaped brackets. A lift bar interfaces with a second end of each of the two lift rods. A pedal mechanically connected to the lift bar moves the lift bar in a downward motion to pull the lift rods down thereby rotating the L-shaped bracket about the pin to extend each L-shaped bracket in an upward motion to open each top door.

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Description

INCORPORATION BY REFERENCE

This is a continuation of application of U.S. Ser. No. 11/255,418, filed Oct. 20, 2005, entitled “TRASH CAN RESTRICT TOP”, by Jeffrey Kalman, et al., the disclosure of which is hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

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.

Due to the nature of the disparate environments in which a trash 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 suffer from several drawbacks such as inefficient mechanisms, short product life, and the like. Such difficulties can be caused by inadequate and/or poor design. What are needed are systems and methods that address shortcomings associated with conventional trash containers and associated trash container features.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

According to one aspect, the subject invention relates to a trash can that comprises a base and a liner supported by the base to receive and store trash. A body, supported by the base, houses the liner and a top comprising a support wall supported by the body and two doors rotatably supported by said top support wall, wherein each door is hinged on one side to said support wall. At least one L-shaped bracket is positioned against one top door and connected to the body via a pin. At least one lift rod with a first end operatively connected to each of the L-shaped brackets. A lift bar interfaces with a second end of each of the two lift rods. A pedal mechanically connected to the lift bar moves the lift bar in a downward motion to pull the lift rods down thereby rotating the L-shaped bracket about the pin to extend each L-shaped bracket in an upward motion to open each top door.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The invention may take form in various components and arrangements of components, and in various steps and arrangements of steps. The drawings are only for purposes of illustrating the preferred embodiments and are not to be construed as limiting the invention.

FIG. 1 is a perspective view, partially cut away, of the trash can that employs a pedal and lift mechanism to open a trash can top, in accordance with an aspect of the subject invention.

FIG. 2 is a detailed view of the pedal and lift mechanism, in accordance with an aspect of the subject invention.

FIG. 3 shows the lift bars and the L-shaped brackets, in accordance with an aspect of the subject invention.

FIG. 4 shows a perspective view from the top-rear of the trash can with the liner removed.

FIG. 5 is a detailed view of the lift bar, damper mechanism and bracket, in accordance with an aspect of the subject invention.

FIG. 6 is a perspective cut-away view of the trash can that illustrates the trim strip and a portion of the working mechanism, in accordance with an aspect of the subject invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

FIG. 1 illustrates a perspective view of a trash can 10. The front of the trash can 10 is cut away in FIG. 1 to display the mechanism for opening the trash can 10. The trash can 10 comprises a base 12, a body 14 and a top 16 which are permanently fixed together. The base 12 is employed to support the structure of the trash can 10 and to insure that such support is level. The base 12 is comprised of two side walls oriented substantially in parallel to one another, a rear wall and a front. The base 12 is a molded plastic structure. In order to provide greater support, the side walls of the base can be angled (e.g., 5-30 degrees) outward from the top of the side wall such that the base 12 is flared in relation to the body 14 of the trash can 10. Each side of the bottom of the base 12 has a middle portion cut-out to provide access to the bottom of the base for cleaning and maintenance and to allow the trash can to sit on uneven surfaces. The base 12 also includes a rear wall (not shown) and a recessed front wall 18 designed to accommodate a pedal 20. Although the walls of the base 12 have been described separately, it is to be appreciated that the base 12 is a unitary element comprised of a single molded component. The front of the base 12 is flush with the floor to eliminate tipping when the pedal 20 is depressed. In addition, ribs (not shown) provide additional support to the base 12.

The body 14 is comprised of four vertical walls that extend upwardly from the walls of the base 12. The bottom of the body 14 is adjacent to the top of the base providing a smooth continuous appearance. The body 14 is a single unitary element that encloses a trash liner 22 and a motion damper 24 which is coupled to the base 12. The trash liner 22 can contain a trash bag or other receptacle that receives and stores trash disposed in the trash can 10. The trash liner 22 is preferably a molded plastic structure. In a preferred embodiment, the trash can body 14 is manufactured of stainless steel. The top and bottom edges of the body 14 are scrolled to create a curved or rolled edge. The bottom edge of the body 14 sits in a recess in the top of the base 12 such that the adjacent exterior surfaces of the body 14 and the base 12 appear seamless. The top edge of the body 14 supports the top 16 of the trash can 10.

The trash can top 16 is comprised of a support wall 26 that is coplanar to the trash can body 14, two doors 28, 30 and connecting pieces. The trash can top 16 support wall 26 is typically made of the same or similar material as the trash can base 12 but can be made of various materials as desired. The top of the support wall 26 includes an inner rim 32 angled approximately 45 degrees toward the center of the trash can 10. A door stop (not shown) is molded into front and back of the support wall 26 at the centerline of the top 16 to provide a resting point for the doors 28, 30 when closed. In addition, each side of the top of the support wall 26 contains a recess to accommodate a hinge for a trash can top door 28, 30. As shown, hinge 34 is employed to allow trash can top door 28 to open.

The trash can top doors 28, 30 are coupled to the support wall 26 utilizing a shaft (not shown) mounted along the length of each of the sides of the support wall 26. Each trash can top door extends from the side of the support wall 26 to the centerline of trash can 10 such that the trash can top doors 28, 30 are equal in size. The doors 28, 30 are preferably stainless steel and flat (e.g., without a curve in the shape of the door). Plastic or other material may be used for the doors 28, 30. The centerline edge of each trash can top door 28, 30 is protected with a molded cover.

As described in greater detail below, the mechanism to lift the doors 28, 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 can (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. It is to be appreciated that the subject invention does not contemplate such a cushioning element to reduce the impact of a pedal bar against the base of a trash can.

The pedal 20 is coupled to a motion damper 24 to open the trash can top doors 28, 30 by elevating the centerline edge of each door 28, 30 about the hinge. Extension springs (not shown) can couple the pedal 20 to the base 12 to guide the pedal 20 vertically to return the pedal to the “up” position after the pedal 18 has been depressed. The pedal can have raised features, surface treatment or the like to provide a non-slip surface. Walls 36a, 36b and 36c are molded into the base 12 to prevent the pedal mechanism from being encumbered.

The motion damper 24 is located directly above the pedal 20 to provide an efficient short stroke implementation. Such a vertically stacked design of the pedal 20 and motion damper 24 minimizes the amount of force to open the doors 28, 30 of the trash can 10. In addition, such an efficient implementation utilizes less material and thus requires less maintenance than conventional designs. The motion damper 24 is located entirely at the front plane of the trash can 10 to provide easy access for maintenance and/or replacement of components.

Referring to FIGS. 1 and 2, the pedal 20 is in an “up” position (not shown) when the trash can top 16 is closed and in a “down” position (shown) when the trash can top 16 is open. Referring to FIG. 2, the pedal 20 is rotatably fixed to the base 12 at its forward edge and fixed at its rearward end by tabs 90, 92 extending into apertures 94, 96 in the base 12. Two rear tabs 50, 52 at the rear of the pedal 20 engage apertures 54, 56 in a lift bar 60. The lift bar 60 comprises an upper segment 60a, a right vertical segment 60b and a left vertical segment 60c. The vertical segments 60b, 60c extend downwardly from the ends of the upper segment 60a. The apertures 54, 56 are in the vertical segments 60b, 60c. The lift bar 60 moves up and down as a unit with the rear of the pedal 20. The lift bar 60 is a unitary metal component.

The lift bar upper segment 60a has a channel shape with a horizontal base 98 and two vertical side walls 100, 102. Two pairs of aligned round holes 104, 106, 108, 110 are provided at each end of the upper segment 60a. The holes 104, 106, 108, 110 are in the vertical side walls 100, 102.

Two lift rods 34, 36 typically constructed of metal or similar material are coupled to lift bar 60. Turning to FIG. 3, the lift rods 34, 36 are identical to one another. Each lift rod 34, 36 has a bottom horizontal portion 34a, 36a, a vertical portion 34b, 36b and a top horizontal portion 34c, 36c. The bottom horizontal portions 34a, 36a are received in the pairs of round holes 104, 106, 108, 110 in the lift bar upper segment 60a. The lift rod top horizontal portions are received in round holes 112, 114 in the L-shaped brackets 38, 40. Each of the L-shaped brackets 38, 40 is attached to the front of the trash can top support wall 26 via a pin 42, 44 fastened through holes 116, 118 in each L-shaped bracket 34, 36. The L-shaped brackets 38, 40 carry pads 46, 48 which are in contact with each of the trash can top doors 28, 30.

Returning to FIG. 1, the carry pads 46, 48 can be made of any resilient, shock dampening material such as Delrin, for example. In this manner, when the pedal 20 is pushed down, the lift rods 34, 36 are pulled down and each L-shaped bracket 38, 40 is rotated about the pin 42, 44. In turn, the L-shaped brackets 38, 40 are extended upwardly and the pads 46, 48 push against and open the trash can top doors 28, 30. It is to be appreciated that the L-shaped brackets 38, 40 are adjacent but not attached to the trash can top doors 28, 30.

Torsion springs 50, 52 are coupled to the trash can top doors 28, 30 to provide resistance for smooth opening of the doors 28, 30. In order to mitigate spring fatigue, the torsion springs 50, 52 can be anchored at one end of each door 28, 30 and extend almost substantially the length of each door 28, 30 where the springs 50, 52 are mounted to the door via brackets 54, 56. In one embodiment, the springs 50, 52 have a small bend at either end to provide a locking point to keep them firmly in place e.g., such that the springs 50, 52 do not slide through the brackets 54, 56. The torsion springs 50, 52 aid in closing the trash can top doors 28, 30 when the pedal 20 is in an “up” position.

FIG. 4 shows a top view of the trash can 10 with the trash can top doors 28, 30 in the open position and the trash liner 22 removed. The L-shaped brackets 38, 40 are extended through bracket slots 74, 76 located in the front of the trash can top 16. The front of the trash can top 16 extends out from the trash liner aperture to provide additional support to the structure of the trash can 10. As shown, each L-shaped bracket 38, 40 through its pad 46, 48 is adjacent to but not fixed to trash can top doors 28, 30. It is to be appreciated that the L-shaped brackets 38, 40 are not attached to the trash can top doors 28, 30.

The rear of the trash can top 16 features a recessed handle 78 that can be employed to move the trash can 10. The recessed handle 78 is molded into the unitary support wall 26 of the trash can top 16. In this manner, the recessed handle 78 can be manufactured with little additional expense. In addition, the molded recessed handle is easy to clean and maintain.

Trash can legs 68, 70 are located below the base 12 and provide support for the trash can 10. In addition, two other legs (not shown) are located in similar lateral locations at the rear of the trash can base 12. The location of each leg in the base 12 is distinguished by a dimple. The trash can legs provide additional support for the trash can 10 to prevent the trash can from tipping in the event there is an uneven weight distribution and/or the trash can 10 is placed on an uneven surface. The trash can legs coupled with the recessed wall of the trash can base provide a stable support for the trash can on substantially any uneven surface.

FIGS. 5 and 6 provide a detailed view of the lift mechanism which includes the lift bar 60. A motion damper 24 is comprised of a fixed portion 25 and a motion damper arm 62. The fixed portion 25 is fixed to the base 12 by a mounting bracket 66. The fixed portion includes a toothed gear on a shaft which is damped by means of vanes in a fluid filled housing or the like. The motion damper arm 62 is coupled at its bottom end 62a, to the lift bar 60 utilizing a screw or other fastener engaging one or both holes 116, 118. The motion damper arm 62 has teeth along one side and engages the motion damper fixed portion as in a rack and pinion. The damper arm 62 may move vertically with the lift bar 60. However, its motion is damped or slowed by engagement with the damped toothed gear on the damper fixed portion 25. In this manner, the motion damper arm 62 is restricted to a damped linear (e.g., non-rotatable) motion. The motion damper 24 slows the movement of the lift bar 60 in an upward direction, resulting in a slower closing of the trash can top doors 28, 30. This prevents loud closing of the trash can top doors 28, 30. Motion dampers are commercially available parts.

FIG. 6 shows a perspective cut-away view of the trash can 10. The trash can door 30 is open and the L-shaped bracket 40 is extended upward through bracket slot 76. The trim strip 80 of the trash can top is illustrated and hidden from view when the trash can top doors 28, 30 are closed. Such a feature provides advantages over conventional trim strips located on the outside of the trash can including less maintenance to maintain a clean appearance and greater aesthetic appeal.

The top of the base is contoured to support the trash liner 22 (shown in FIG. 1) from the bottom. In this manner, an upper surface (e.g., lip) is not required to locate and/or support the trash liner 22 within the body 14 of the trash can 10. In addition to supporting the trash liner 22, the top of the base 12 is a continuous closed element thereby containing leaks or spills from the trash liner.

The invention has been described with reference to the preferred embodiments. It will be appreciated that modifications or alterations could be made without deviating from the present invention. Such modification and alterations will occur to others upon the reading and understanding of the specifications. It is intended that all such modifications and alterations be included insofar as they come within the scope of the appended claims or the equivalents thereof.

Claims

1. A trash can, comprising:

a base;
a liner supported by the base to receive and store trash;
a body, supported by the base, that houses the liner;
a top comprising a support wall supported by the body and two doors rotatably supported by said support wall, the support wall extends around the perimeter of the top, wherein each door is hinged on one side to said support wall;
two L-shaped brackets, wherein each L-shaped bracket is positioned under and against each of the two doors and connected to the support wall via a pin;
two lift rods, each with a first end and a second end, said first end operatively connected below each of the two L-shaped brackets;
a lift bar, located below the two lift rods, that interfaces with said second end of each of said lift rods; and,
a pedal, located below the lift bar, the pedal is mechanically connected to the lift bar adapted to move the lift bar in a downward motion to pull the lift rods down thereby rotating the L-shaped brackets about the pins to extend said L-shaped brackets in an upward motion to open said doors.

2. The trash can according to claim 1, wherein the base is a continuously molded component employed to contain leaks from the trash liner.

3. The trash can according to claim 1, wherein the lift mechanism is located directly above the pedal to provide a short stroke mechanism.

4. The trash can according to claim 1, wherein the trash can top further includes:

a recessed handle located on the back wall of the trash can top.

5. The trash can according to claim 1, wherein the top doors are coupled to the trash can top via torsion springs designed to pull the doors closed when the pedal is in a raised position.

6. The trash can according to claim 1, wherein the at least two L-shaped brackets, the at least two lift rods, the lift bar, and the pedal are in a stacked arrangement within a plane of the trash can.

7. The trash can according to claim 1, wherein the bottom of the base further includes:

four legs molded as a single unitary element of the base and located near the corners of the base.

8. The trash can according to claim 1, wherein the sides of the base are cut out between the corners to allow the trash can to sit on an uneven surface.

9. The trash can according to claim 1, wherein the trash can top further includes a trim strip that extends at approximately a 45 degree angle toward the inside of the trash can.

10. The trash can according to claim 1, wherein the bottom of the of the trash can base wall is flared out at approximately 30 degrees from the top of the trash can base wall.

11. The trash can according to claim 1, further including:

a motion damper that is operatively connected to the lift bar that dampens the motion of the lift bar.

12. The trash can according to claim 9, wherein the wall includes two slots that allow each of said L-shaped brackets to extend and pass through the slots in an upward motion to open said doors.

13. A trash can, comprising:

a base;
a liner supported by the base to receive and store trash;
a body, supported by the base, that surrounds the outside of the liner;
a wall that extends around the top of the body, the wall includes two slots;
two doors rotatably supported by the wall, wherein each door is hinged on one side to the wall;
two L-shaped brackets, wherein each L-shaped bracket is positioned under and against each of the two doors and connected to the support wall via a pin, each bracket is coupled to a carry pad to allow each door to rest thereon;
two lift rods, each with a first end and a second end, said first end operatively connected below each of the two L-shaped brackets;
a lift bar, located below the two lift rods, that interfaces with said second end of each of said lift rods; and,
a pedal, located below the lift bar, the pedal is mechanically connected to the lift bar adapted to move the lift bar in a downward motion to pull the lift rods down thereby rotating the L-shaped brackets about the pins to extend said L-shaped brackets in an upward motion through the slots of the wall to open said doors.

14. The trash can according to claim 13, wherein the base is a continuously molded component employed to contain leaks from the trash liner.

15. The trash can according to claim 13, further including:

a motion damper that is operatively connected to the lift bar that dampens the motion of the lift bar.

16. The trash can according to claim 13, wherein the base, body and liner create a generally rectangular opening, the two doors each cover approximately half the opening.

17. The trash can according to claim 13, wherein the top doors are coupled to the trash can top via torsion springs designed to pull the doors closed when the pedal is in a raised position.

18. The trash can according to claim 13, wherein the at least two L-shaped brackets, the at least two lift rods, the lift bar, and the pedal are in a stacked vertical arrangement within a plane of the trash can.

19. The trash can according to claim 13, wherein the bottom of the base further includes:

four legs molded as a single unitary element of the base and located near the corners of the base.

Patent History

Publication number: 20100170904
Type: Application
Filed: Jul 8, 2009
Publication Date: Jul 8, 2010
Inventors: Jeffrey Kalman (Cleveland Heights, OH), Craig Saunders (Rocky River, OH)
Application Number: 12/499,503

Classifications

Current U.S. Class: Receptacle Having Flexible, Removable Inner Liner (220/495.01)
International Classification: B65D 25/14 (20060101);