US20180288969A1 - Animal grooming tool - Google Patents

Animal grooming tool Download PDF

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Publication number
US20180288969A1
US20180288969A1 US16/004,411 US201816004411A US2018288969A1 US 20180288969 A1 US20180288969 A1 US 20180288969A1 US 201816004411 A US201816004411 A US 201816004411A US 2018288969 A1 US2018288969 A1 US 2018288969A1
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United States
Prior art keywords
apparatus
vacuum
animal
tool
animal grooming
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Pending
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US16/004,411
Inventor
James E. Freidell
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PetGroom Tech LLC
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PetGroom Tech LLC
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Publication date
Priority to US29176201P priority Critical
Priority to US10/147,802 priority patent/US7159274B2/en
Priority to US11/338,221 priority patent/US8230819B2/en
Priority to US12/190,865 priority patent/US8429790B2/en
Priority to US13/872,595 priority patent/US8918955B2/en
Priority to US14/584,081 priority patent/US9992973B2/en
Application filed by PetGroom Tech LLC filed Critical PetGroom Tech LLC
Priority to US16/004,411 priority patent/US20180288969A1/en
Assigned to PETGROOM TECH LLC reassignment PETGROOM TECH LLC ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST (SEE DOCUMENT FOR DETAILS). Assignors: FREIDELL, JAMES E
Publication of US20180288969A1 publication Critical patent/US20180288969A1/en
Application status is Pending legal-status Critical

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    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A01AGRICULTURE; FORESTRY; ANIMAL HUSBANDRY; HUNTING; TRAPPING; FISHING
    • A01KANIMAL HUSBANDRY; CARE OF BIRDS, FISHES, INSECTS; FISHING; REARING OR BREEDING ANIMALS, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR; NEW BREEDS OF ANIMALS
    • A01K13/00Devices for grooming or caring of animals, e.g. curry-combs; Fetlock rings; Tail-holders; Devices for preventing crib-biting; Washing devices; Protection against weather conditions or insects
    • A01K13/002Curry-combs; Shearing sheep chemically
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A01AGRICULTURE; FORESTRY; ANIMAL HUSBANDRY; HUNTING; TRAPPING; FISHING
    • A01KANIMAL HUSBANDRY; CARE OF BIRDS, FISHES, INSECTS; FISHING; REARING OR BREEDING ANIMALS, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR; NEW BREEDS OF ANIMALS
    • A01K13/00Devices for grooming or caring of animals, e.g. curry-combs; Fetlock rings; Tail-holders; Devices for preventing crib-biting; Washing devices; Protection against weather conditions or insects
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A01AGRICULTURE; FORESTRY; ANIMAL HUSBANDRY; HUNTING; TRAPPING; FISHING
    • A01KANIMAL HUSBANDRY; CARE OF BIRDS, FISHES, INSECTS; FISHING; REARING OR BREEDING ANIMALS, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR; NEW BREEDS OF ANIMALS
    • A01K13/00Devices for grooming or caring of animals, e.g. curry-combs; Fetlock rings; Tail-holders; Devices for preventing crib-biting; Washing devices; Protection against weather conditions or insects
    • A01K13/001Washing, cleaning, or drying devices
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A47FURNITURE; DOMESTIC ARTICLES OR APPLIANCES; COFFEE MILLS; SPICE MILLS; SUCTION CLEANERS IN GENERAL
    • A47LDOMESTIC WASHING OR CLEANING; SUCTION CLEANERS IN GENERAL
    • A47L9/00Details or accessories of suction cleaners, e.g. mechanical means for controlling the suction or for effecting pulsating action; Storing devices specially adapted to suction cleaners or parts thereof; Carrying-vehicles specially adapted for suction cleaners
    • A47L9/02Nozzles
    • A47L9/06Nozzles with fixed, e.g. adjustably fixed brushes or the like
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A47FURNITURE; DOMESTIC ARTICLES OR APPLIANCES; COFFEE MILLS; SPICE MILLS; SUCTION CLEANERS IN GENERAL
    • A47LDOMESTIC WASHING OR CLEANING; SUCTION CLEANERS IN GENERAL
    • A47L9/00Details or accessories of suction cleaners, e.g. mechanical means for controlling the suction or for effecting pulsating action; Storing devices specially adapted to suction cleaners or parts thereof; Carrying-vehicles specially adapted for suction cleaners
    • A47L9/02Nozzles
    • A47L9/06Nozzles with fixed, e.g. adjustably fixed brushes or the like
    • A47L9/0606Nozzles with fixed, e.g. adjustably fixed brushes or the like rigidly anchored brushes, combs, lips or pads

Abstract

An animal grooming tool is disclosed that includes a handle and one or more grooming devices, each functionally similar to any of a number of standard animal grooming hand tools, such as a shedding blade, rake, de-matting tool or de-shedding tool. The ability to adjust the angle of a grooming device to its handle is disclosed. The handle may comprise a hollow body effectuating a vacuum nozzle attachable to a vacuum source and a mouth opening that spans the one or more grooming devices. The vacuum nozzle is positioned such that the airflow created by the vacuum source flows over at least one side of a grooming device. The ability to adjust the magnitude of vacuum-induced airflow through an animal grooming tool handle comprising a hollow body is disclosed. A vacuum cleaning tool for removing animal hair from a grooming tool is also disclosed.

Description

    CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION
  • The present application is a continuation of and claims the benefit of U.S. Utility patent application Ser. No. 14/584,081, filed Dec. 29, 2014 and issued Jun. 12, 2018 under U.S. Utility Pat. No. 9,992,973, which is a continuation of and claims the benefit of U.S. Utility patent application Ser. No. 13/872,595, filed Apr. 29, 2013 and issued Dec. 30, 2014 under U.S. Utility Pat. No. 8,918,955, which is a continuation of and claims the benefit of U.S. Utility patent application Ser. No. 12/190,865, filed Aug. 13, 2008 and issued Apr. 30, 2013 under U.S. Utility Pat. No. 8,429,790, which is a continuation of and claims the benefit of U.S. Utility patent application Ser. No. 11/338,221, filed Jan. 23, 2006 and issued Jul. 31, 2012 under U.S. Utility Pat. No. 8,230,819, which is a continuation of and claims the benefit of U.S. Utility patent application Ser. No. 10/147,802, filed May 17, 2002 and issued Jan. 9, 2007 under U.S. Utility Pat. No. 7,159,274, which claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/291,762 filed May 17, 2001, all of which are hereby incorporated by reference in their entirety.
  • FIELD
  • The present invention relates generally to animal grooming tools, including pet grooming tools and vacuum grooming tools.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • Professional animal groomers deal with a large amount of hair during the grooming process. Hair accumulates on the grooming table, floor, and in the bathing tub. Much of this hair is introduced into the air environment as a result of blow drying, hair stripping, brushing, combing, raking, clipping, shearing, de-shedding, pet carding, and de-matting operations. Much of this hair is physically handled by the groomer as he/she manually removes accumulated hair from various hand tools such as slicker brushes, combs, rakes, stripping tools, de-shedding tools, and de-matting tools. The groomer must use both hands and either drops extracted hair on the floor or deposits such into a waste receptacle. During the bathing process, an abundance of animal hair often finds its way into the drain causing frequent blockage. Many professional grooming shops have plumbing professionals clean shop bathing drains as frequently as every two weeks as a precautionary measure.
  • Many states employ licensing and/or regulations requiring that animal hair be cleaned up after grooming each animal before another can be groomed at the same workstation. In practice, either hair accumulates on the floor until which time as the groomer decides it must be cleaned up, or it is cleaned up after each animal. Most professional groomers use a standard wet/dry vacuum to accomplish this clean-up operation. Fewer perform such clean-up with brush, broom and dustpan. The environment containing accumulated hair, dander and pests is recognized as unhealthy for both humans and animals. Airborne hair and dander is one way of transmitting skin ailments and disease between animals, and allergens to humans.
  • Clean-up time can be a substantial portion of the total time allocated to groom an animal. Most grooming business advisors espouse the need to continuously maintain as clean as possible a grooming environment to appease discerning customers.
  • Professional groomers often suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis, and other maladies resulting from repetitive motion, particularly repetitive motion that involves strain due to weight or resistance to such motion. Anything that can reduce the number of repetitions and/or relieve strain, particularly in using common hand tools, can reduce the incidence and severity of such maladies.
  • Pet owners often must deal with volumes of hair naturally shed by many animals. This shed hair accumulates around the home during shedding season, creating a general nuisance and requiring more frequent home vacuuming and cleaning.
  • One of the problems faced by all groomers is the accumulation of hair on their hand tools (combs, rakes, brushes, etc.) during use. FIG. 9(A) shows a slicker brush before use, and FIG. 9(B) after use. Groomers normally use their free hand to remove the hair (and with slicker brushes in particular, presents a relatively arduous, repetitive task). FIG. 9C illustrates that even rakes and combs are affected.
  • BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • The present invention discloses a system of animal grooming tools that incorporate the means to adjust the angle between the portion of the tool that engages an animal's coat and the tool's accompanying handle to increase grooming efficacy and reduce tool user (groomer) fatigue. An embodiment of the present invention enables any of these tools, when attached to a vacuum source, to reduce the need for the groomer to manually deal with animal hair accumulating on or in such tools during use, or manually clean up hair displaced from the animal during the grooming process. Certain of these tools integrate vacuum plenums into and with standard professional grooming tool functionality. Others facilitate the drying of animals. Vacuum-assisted tools also reduce exposure to animal dander and pests often found in animal coats. The present invention also discloses a vacuum-assisted animal grooming tool cleaner.
  • Features of this system of tools and/or individual tools (as applicable) include:
  • 1. ergonomic design to be lightweight and comfortable to use, especially by way of varying the angle of the handle to effectively deal with varying animal coat conditions and grooming different anatomical parts of an animal;
    2. aerodynamic design to allow operation under vacuum application without significantly contributing to environmental noise;
    3. increased efficiency, compared to common grooming tools that the invention replaces, as measured in the amount of hair extracted per operational stroke and/or the elimination of operational strokes, both of which can directly translate to reduction of repetitive motion actions and the amount of time required to groom an animal;
    4. the ability to automatically capture most animal hair, dander, and pests that otherwise would be released in the environment as a result of the grooming process;
    5. designs comparable to the professional hand tools the invention replaces in their ability to properly accommodate animal body contour(s) and varying types of animal hair;
    6. the ability to use such tools with a single hand, allowing the groomer the ability to always keep one hand on the animal being groomed;
    7. reduction of time devoted to animal drying after bathing;
    8. reduction of the amount of hair introduced into bath drains and thereby reducing the incidence of drain clogging resulting from animal bathing;
    9. reduction of the acoustic noise environment, particularly during blow drying and clean-up, either in sound pressure level (intensity) reduction or time of exposure to such, or both; and
    10. design of certain tools to be usable by animal owners employing a standard home vacuum cleaner (upright or canister) as the vacuum source.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWINGS
  • Other objects and advantages of the invention will become apparent upon reading the following detailed description and upon reference to the drawings in which:
  • FIG. 1A is a bottom view showing two parallel shedding blades extending a short distance out from a vacuum plenum mouth opening;
  • FIG. 1B is a bottom view showing two parallel shedding blades extending a medium distance out from a vacuum plenum mouth opening;
  • FIG. 1C is a bottom view showing two parallel shedding blades extending a long distance out from a vacuum plenum mouth opening;
  • FIG. 1D is a bottom view showing a single shedding blade extending out from a vacuum plenum mouth opening;
  • FIG. 1E is a bottom view showing four parallel shedding blades extending out from a vacuum plenum mouth opening;
  • FIG. 1F is a front view showing a type of shedding blade comprising a serrated edge that may be formed by way of metal stamping;
  • FIG. 1G is a back view showing a type of shedding blade that may be formed by machining, casting or molding metal or plastic material;
  • FIG. 1H is a side view showing a shedding blade positioned geometrically coincident with or set at a plurality of angles with respect to a theoretical plane perpendicular to a theoretical plane defined by the vacuum plenum mouth opening, also relevant to a handle not comprising a vacuum nozzle;
  • FIG. 2A is a perspective view showing two parallel shedding blades extending a short distance out from a vacuum plenum mouth opening;
  • FIG. 2B is a perspective view showing two parallel shedding blades extending a medium distance out from a vacuum plenum mouth opening and defining a handle angle;
  • FIG. 2C is a perspective view showing two parallel shedding blades extending a long distance out from a vacuum plenum mouth opening;
  • FIG. 3A is a side view showing two parallel shedding blades extending a short distance out from a vacuum plenum mouth opening;
  • FIG. 3B is a side view showing two parallel shedding blades extending a medium distance out from a vacuum plenum mouth opening and further defining a handle angle;
  • FIG. 3C is a side view showing two parallel shedding blades extending a long distance out from a vacuum plenum mouth opening;
  • FIG. 4 is a bottom view of another embodiment of the invention, in which the grooming tool includes a pin brush;
  • FIG. 5A is a bottom view of a comb-implemented vacuum grooming tool configured to be used as a rake;
  • FIG. 5B is a perspective view of a comb-implemented vacuum grooming tool configured to be used as a rake;
  • FIG. 5C is a perspective view of a comb-implemented vacuum grooming tool configured to be used in a more traditional comb-like fashion;
  • FIG. 6A is a perspective view of another embodiment of the invention, in which the grooming tool includes a rake;
  • FIG. 6B shows a conventional grooming rake (prior art);
  • FIG. 7 is a bottom view of another embodiment of the invention, in which the grooming tool includes a double row rake comprising a plurality of conical spikes;
  • FIG. 8A is a perspective view of another embodiment of the invention, in which the vacuum grooming tool includes a first style of de-matting tool blades;
  • FIG. 8B is a perspective view of a vacuum grooming tool that includes a second style of de-matting tool blades;
  • FIG. 9A is a perspective view of a conventional slicker brush grooming tool before use (prior art);
  • FIG. 9B is a perspective view of a conventional slicker brush grooming tool after use (fouled with hair) before cleaning (prior art);
  • FIG. 9C is a perspective view of a conventional rake grooming tool after use (fouled with hair) (prior art);
  • FIG. 9D is a first perspective view of a vacuum grooming tool according to the invention after use (fouled with hair) before cleaning;
  • FIG. 9E is a second perspective view of a vacuum grooming tool according to the invention after use (fouled with hair) before cleaning;
  • FIG. 10A is a perspective view of a grooming tool cleaner according to the invention;
  • FIG. 10B is a bottom-end perspective view of a grooming tool cleaner according to the invention;
  • FIG. 11A is a perspective view of the grooming tool cleaner cleaning a standard animal bristle brush according to the invention;
  • FIG. 11B is a perspective view of the grooming tool cleaner cleaning a standard animal pin bush according to the invention;
  • FIG. 11C is a perspective view of the grooming tool cleaner cleaning a standard animal slicker bush according to the invention;
  • FIG. 11D is a perspective view of the grooming tool cleaner cleaning a vacuum grooming tool including a comb, such as that shown in FIG. 5A, or a vacuum grooming tool including a rake, such as that shown in FIG. 6A;
  • FIG. 11E is a perspective view of the grooming tool cleaner cleaning a vacuum grooming tool including a shedding blade, such as that shown in FIG. 1D;
  • FIG. 11F is a perspective view of the grooming tool cleaner cleaning the vacuum grooming tool shown in FIG. 11D in a different perspective.
  • FIG. 12A is a side view of an articulated grooming tool cleaner according to an aspect of the invention;
  • FIG. 12B is a top view of an auxiliary vacuum device (AVD), according to an aspect of the invention;
  • FIG. 12C is a side view of the articulated grooming tool cleaner shown in FIG. 12A as it would pivot during use;
  • FIG. 13A is a side view of an articulated grooming tool cleaner mounting bracket according to an aspect of the invention;
  • FIG. 13B is a side view of the articulated grooming tool cleaner shown in FIG. 12A mounted in the articulated grooming tool cleaner mounting bracket shown in FIG. 13A; and
  • FIG. 13C is a side view of the apparatus shown in FIG. 13B as it would pivot during use and thereby change vacuum interconnection according to an aspect of the invention.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF SPECIFIC EMBODIMENTS
  • FIG. 1D depicts an animal grooming vacuum tool 100 having an integrated shedding tool blade 110. The device has a suction nozzle 120 having an integrally formed suction pipe 122 to serve as a handle and optionally connect to a source of negative pressure (such as a vacuum). The suction pipe 122 is in physical communication with a hollow body 124 terminating in an integrally formed mouth opening 126. In the preferred embodiment, the mouth 126 is substantially rectangular and is defined by a first pair of integrally formed spaced rectangular walls 128 which are substantially parallel to each other and a second pair of integrally formed spaced rectangular walls 130 which are substantially parallel to each other.
  • The apparatus has one or more substantially straight stainless steel grooming blades 110, illustrated in more detail in FIG. 1(F), disposed within the rectangular mouth opening. Each blade 110 has two shaped and smoothed ends 112, each end is attached to one of the second pair of integrally formed spaced rectangular walls 130. Each blade also has a serrated edge 114 extending outside the plane of the rectangular mouth opening 126. In multiple blade implementations, such as those schematically shown in FIGS. 1(A), 1(B), 1(C) and 1(E) each blade 110 is substantially parallel to the other blades 110 and to the first pair of integrally formed spaced rectangular walls. In addition, the blades 110 are positioned to provide an air passage extending from the mouth opening 126 into the hollow body portion 124 of the nozzle 120 between each of the blades 110 and between the blades 110 and the first pair of integrally formed spaced rectangular walls 128. Better results are achieved if the animal hair can be sucked down from both sides of the blade 110.
  • Although the mouth 126 of the preferred embodiment is rectangular, those skilled in the art will recognize that other mouth shapes such as ovals may be used, so long as the blades 110, in multiple blade devices, are substantially parallel to each other.
  • Each blade 110 can be attached to the mouth opening 126 in a variety of ways. For example the blades 110 can be glued to the walls using commercially available epoxies. For additional stability, receiving slots can be cut in the nozzle housing to receive the ends of each blade 110 or the entire edge of the blade 110 opposite the serrated teeth 114, the latter especially in an alternate embodiment where the handle 122 is not configured to act as an air plenum.
  • Blades 110 may be constructed out of stainless steel or a plastic blade may be used provided the mold for the serrated edges of such (or post molding operations) give rise to sharp edges, which may include burrs. The ends 112 of the blades are shaped (and may be smoothed) in order to minimize sharp corners which could cut or scrape an animal's skin when used. These tools are designed to be pushed or pulled on the animal's coat, not side-to-side, which could injure the coat or underlying skin.
  • The blade can be formed from a substantially straight piece of the toothed metal, as opposed to trying to maintain a curve in the metal blade. The blade can be integrated with an upholstery nozzle that does not have bristles. The blade can also take the form of any manual shedding blade. For example, in the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 1(G), the blade 140 has faceted teeth 142 with sharply angled channels 144 between the teeth 142 and sharp edges 145 for snagging and pulling hair. A blade similar to the half of a hair clipper blade that is normally held stationary (as opposed to the other half that is moved back and forth by action of the clipper), with teeth that have sharp edges, can also be used.
  • As illustrated in FIG. 1(H), the orientation of the blade(s) can be set at an angle 116 relative to the handle and the direction of tool motion 118 during the intended normal use. A vacuum-assisted tool is typically moved in a direction substantially perpendicular to the rim of the mouth opening 126 so that the vacuuming action is the most efficient. The blade can be perpendicular to the tool motion, or deviate from the perpendicular orientation by an angle 116. Typically, the blade is perpendicular or angled away from the tool motion 118.
  • FIGS. 2(A), 2(B) and 2(C) as well as FIGS. 3(A), 3(B) and 3(C) depict, respectively, blades having different heights 210, depending upon the type of animal's coat to be groomed. The angle 220 between the hose attachment point (i.e., suction pipe 122, which serves as the handle) and blade(s) 110 may vary according to customer preference and/or ergonomic design considerations. In the preferred embodiment the blade protrudes between ⅛″ to ⅝″ from the mouth of the nozzle.
  • The blade could also be mechanically secured to the mouth using a clip or other fastener. Those skilled in the art will recognize that using a mechanical mechanism allows blades to be exchanged.
  • An embodiment of the present invention, where suction pipe 122 effectuates an air plenum, will operate with commercially available wet/dry and standard vacuum cleaners. The greater suction of the wet/dry vacuum (compared to the upright or canister vacuum) tends to be more effective in lifting the animal's coat (its hair), almost to the point of standing upright within the vacuum tool. Nevertheless, care should be taken to ensure that too much suction is not used. In the event a strong vacuum is used, an adjustable vacuum suction hose can be used to reduce the vacuum pressure.
  • Other means can be used to reduce suction. For example, a vacuum with a variable-speed motor drive can be used to create variable suction; a vent, with or without a valve, can also be placed on the grooming tool itself.
  • Adequate CFM and vacuum pressure is important. In the preferred embodiment, the vacuum pressure should be at least 40 inches of water at or above 90 CFM. Tools may be fabricated with smaller vacuum orifices to accommodate less powerful vacuum cleaners. Similarly, larger tools designed for horses and similar large animals may operate best with greater vacuum pressure and airflow.
  • FIGS. 1, 2 and 3 show several tools incorporating shedding tool functionality into a vacuum nozzle. The number of blades and overall tool size varies depending upon the type and size of animal, and the characteristics of the animal's hair. For example, Tool E in FIG. 1 is sized for horses and other large animals. The length of the blade 110 is typically a few inches in the preferred embodiment, but may be built larger or smaller to suit the intended use. An example of where a smaller tool may be of value would be one for small dogs and particularly legs of dogs generally. For such a purpose, a tool approximately 1 to 2 in. wide may prove most useful.
  • FIG. 4 discloses an alternate embodiment using a pin brush 410 instead of one or more blades. The pin brush 410 has a large number of plastic or metal wire pins 420 held by base 430. Base 430 may be rigid or flexible. The pins allow air flow from a vacuum to suck hair through the slots 440 formed in the base 430 and the mouth 126 of the device.
  • The slot configuration of this design also aids blow drying. The slots 440 allow airflow created by the vacuum to help suck hair (and fleas, ticks, dirt, etc.) up into the brush while brushing and to evacuate loosened hair and moisture. Note that hair may wrap around the brush pins (more than the shedding blade) and require additional procedures to remove the hair. Airflow may be induced in reverse (connected to the blower output of a vacuum cleaner for example) to further aid blow drying while brushing the animal.
  • Those skilled in the art will recognize that the slot size, shape, number and length of pins may all vary depending on the animal's hair length and the required amount of brushing or drying assistance. Overall size may also vary depending on the size of the animal. Instead of brush pins, bristles can also be used in the embodiment shown in FIG. 4.
  • FIG. 5 discloses an alternate embodiment using combs 510, 530 and 560 instead of a blade. Three styles of vacuum combs are shown, respectively. Two (FIGS. 5(A) and 5(B)) of the depicted embodiments are intended to be used like a rake (moved fore and aft). Pulling the rake works better than pushing. The third vacuum comb (FIG. 5(C)) is designed to be used more like a traditional comb (moved sideways).
  • In all cases, airflow (created by vacuum) flows around both sides of the comb to suck hair up into the comb and evacuate loosened hair (along with dirt, dander, fleas, ticks, etc.). The combs may be constructed of metal or plastic. Comb length and pitch (number of teeth per inch), may be varied according to personal preference and the type and length of hair on the animal to be groomed. Hair will accumulate in the teeth during use, requiring removal. Size may vary also (length of teeth) depending on personal preference and the size of the animal.
  • FIGS. 6(A) and 7 depict rakes 610 and 710, respectively, of embodiments of the present invention. Conventional rakes comprising spikes (sometimes called tangs in the industry, not to be confused with the usual definition of a tang—the projection on the blade of a tool by which the blade is held firmly in the handle), such as the one 650 shown in FIG. 6(B), are used for some dog breeds. FIG. 7 shows a double row rake 710, comprising conically shaped spikes, integrated into a vacuum hand tool, creating a vacuum rake in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention. Shown in FIG. 6(A) is a single row Teflon coated rake according to an embodiment of the invention. Again, vacuum causes airflow around the rake so to suck up hair, dirt, fleas, ticks, etc. into the tool. Preferably, air would also flow between the rows of the double row rake 710. The devices were made using metal rakes (some Teflon coated), but can be made of any suitable material, such as metal and plastic. The number of teeth, pitch, length of rake, and length of rake tangs (spikes) may vary, according to the preferences of the user and breed of animal to be groomed. The rake tangs could be made of plastic. In use, hair will build up in the tangs, requiring removal.
  • FIG. 8 depicts two vacuum de-matting tools. De-matting tools usually have replaceable blades 820, 860 that are very sharp for cutting hair. The purpose is to cut through hair mats, somewhat shredding such in order to allow a comb to effectively run through the hair. Blades are replaceable in both cases but need not be in either. According to one embodiment, air (from the vacuum) flows around both sides of the blades 820, 860 (the cutting and non-cutting edges), and in one case between the blades 860. A thumb rest 870 is shown on the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 8(B). Blades are reversible to accommodate both right and left-handed users. Blades might be made of plastic. Cut hair may accumulate in the blades during use, requiring removal.
  • As mentioned above, and illustrated as examples in FIGS. 9(D) and 9(E), the animal hair may accumulate in the tool of the invention during use. FIG. 10 through 13 depict devices that are used to remove accumulated hair from tools during use, thereby eliminating the need for using ones fingers to do so.
  • One embodiment is a static vacuum cleaner nozzle 1000 shown in FIGS. 10 and 11. A vacuum source (not shown) is adapted to a cleaner head 1010 having an opening 1020 at least the size (length) of most tools. The other dimension (width) is such that maximum airflow is created, yet the opening is adequate to easily accommodate any of the non-brush tools.
  • Brush tools are cleaned across the cleaner opening 1020, providing mechanical scrubbing action to facilitate the vacuum action. Non-brush tools are merely held in the vacuum cleaner opening 1020.
  • Disconnecting the source of vacuum from the vacuum tool before attempting to remove hair from the tool with the vacuum cleaner typically makes hair removal from said tool easier and more complete (vacuum sources and resultant airflow don't compete).
  • FIGS. 12 and 13 show one of many possible implementations of an articulated tool cleaner 1200 according to one aspect of the invention. The tool cleaner 1200 can be activated by placing the tool to be cleaned onto the cleaner opening 1220 of a movable vacuum plenum 1210 and pressing down, causing rotation of the cleaner about a pivot 1230 held in place by channels effectuating a rotational sliding mechanism similar to the action of a standard linear motion blast gate. This rotation effectively switches the vacuum source from a vacuum tool to the cleaner, allowing both the vacuum tool and cleaner to share the same vacuum source, but not simultaneously. This switches the vacuum off to the connected vacuum tool and on to the cleaner, such that the airflow through the cleaner does not have to compete with any vacuum or airflow through the tool to be cleaned (wiped). If a brush is used, the brush is wiped across the cleaner opening, (while pressing down) providing mechanical assistance to assist the vacuum in removing hair. Releasing the downward force causes a spring to return the cleaner to the original position (via counter-rotation about the pivot point).
  • An auxiliary vacuum device 1250 (AVD), shown in FIG. 12(B) is designed to split the vacuum source to it in order to provide vacuum outlets 1270 to either side of the movable vacuum plenum 1210. This provides flexibility in mounting the entire unit. The unused outlet port is plugged in normal operation. One of the many alternatives readily appreciated by one skilled in the art is a simple pipe “elbow” (not shown), providing tool attachment on only one side of the movable vacuum plenum 1210. Such pipe elbow could also be configured such that it could be rotated to provide tool attachment on either side of the movable vacuum plenum 1210.
  • Mechanical articulation and rotation can be minimized or eliminated by using a pressure or other switch to activate pneumatic (even vacuum-driven) or electrical motorized opening and closing of respective valves to achieve the same function as that described above.
  • In the preferred embodiment, the articulated brush scrubber is made up of the following: a fixed 2¼″ vacuum plenum 1280, to which vacuum is continuously supplied; a moveable vacuum plenum 1210, which rotates up and down around a fixed pivot point 1230. One end of the moveable vacuum plenum 1210 has an opening 1220 having a width just larger than the width of the tool to be cleaned. The other end of the moveable vacuum plenum has a sliding vacuum seal 1290 (shown in FIG. 13(B) sealing off the fixed vacuum plenum).
  • The device is activated by pushing the moveable vacuum plenum 1210 down with the tool to be cleaned. This action, as illustrated in FIG. 13(C), rotates the sliding vacuum seal 1290 off the fixed vacuum plenum 1280 and simultaneously rotates the previously open end of the moveable vacuum plenum 1210 to engage a seal with the fixed vacuum plenum 1280. This causes air flow through the moveable vacuum plenum 1210. It also stops or reduces air flow through the AVD 1250. The device being cleaned is then pushed across or inserted into the open end 1220 of the moveable vacuum plenum 1210 to release trapped hair, which is sucked up by the moveable vacuum plenum 1210, through the seal between moveable and fixed vacuum plenums and on to a vacuum source.
  • At the completion of the cleaning motion, pressure on the moveable vacuum plenum 1210 by the device being cleaned is released by lifting the device being cleaned. A return spring 1282 biases the moveable vacuum plenum 1210 back to the starting position, sealing off the vacuum from the fixed vacuum plenum 1280 to the moveable vacuum plenum 1210 and restoring full vacuum to the AVD 1250. This device could be used with any standard grooming tool as well as any of the vacuum tools (with vacuum still running to such). In the case of a shedding blade, comb, rake, or de-matting tool, the tool would be cleared of trapped hair simply by engaging the open end of the moveable vacuum plenum 1210, pushing both down. No aft-fore motion of the tool would be required—the trapped hair would be just sucked off. As for a non-vacuum assisted slicker, bristle or pin brush, wiping motion of a pin brush style vacuum tool would facilitate clearing of hair from the pins. Cleaning a vacuum tool connected to its vacuum source via the AVD 1250 gains the benefit of having its vacuum supply automatically stopped or reduced through such engagement of the open end of the movable vacuum plenum 1210, effectively disconnecting the AVD 1250, and hence the source of vacuum to the vacuum tool from fixed vacuum plenum 1280.
  • In the preferred embodiment, the device has a sufficient seal so that leakage is not a significant source of noise. Also, the seal remains adequate throughout many cycles. In addition the vacuum plenums are designed with aerodynamically smooth inner surfaces to avoid generation of noise. Finally, the entire tool cleaner is designed as a single unit that can easily be attached (with screws, etc.) to either the top or bottom of a grooming table 1302, or to a wall so to provide easy, natural access to such by any tool held in a groomer's hand.
  • With this implementation, a vacuum source could easily be shared between the tool cleaner and vacuum tools. Doing so may even make both tools work better. Full vacuum would be available to the vacuum tool when grooming. Activation of the tool cleaner would release some or all of the vacuum from the vacuum tool, making it that much easier for the tool cleaner to suck trapped hair off the vacuum tool. Full vacuum would be restored to the vacuum tool upon release of the tool cleaner. All of this action is accomplished with just the one hand holding the tool that is to be “scrubbed” of hair.

Claims (20)

We claim:
1. An apparatus comprising:
a handle;
one or more animal grooming devices configured to remove loose hair from an animal's coat by snagging; and
one or more fasteners positioned to secure the handle to the one or more animal grooming devices in a manner allowing the angle formed between the handle and the one or more animal grooming devices to be set to one of a plurality of orientations.
2. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the one or more animal grooming devices are fixable to a vacuum nozzle, having a hollow body terminating in a mouth opening and attachable to a vacuum source, configured such that:
the mouth opening spans the one or more animal grooming devices; and
the airflow created by the vacuum source flows over at least one side of at least one animal grooming device.
3. The apparatus of claim 2, wherein the vacuum nozzle additionally functions as a means to hold and manipulate the apparatus, thus effecting a handle.
4. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein at least two grooming devices are spaced apart and substantially parallel to each other.
5. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein at least one of the animal grooming devices comprises a shedding blade having a serrated edge.
6. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein at least one of the animal grooming devices comprises a blade formed with faceted teeth.
7. The apparatus of claim 6, wherein the blade formed with faceted teeth is configured to function similarly to the blade of a stripping knife.
8. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein at least one of the animal grooming devices comprises a plurality of stripping blades.
9. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein at least one of the animal grooming devices comprises a de-shedding blade.
10. The apparatus of claim 9, wherein the de-shedding blade comprises a plurality of individual blades.
11. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein at least one of the animal grooming devices is configured for pet carding.
12. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein at least one of the animal grooming devices comprises a comb with a plurality of teeth on the sides of each of which are formed at least one sharp edge.
13. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein at least one of the animal grooming devices comprises a de-matting tool with a plurality of teeth on the sides of each of which are formed at least one sharp edge.
14. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein at least one of the animal grooming devices comprises a grooming rake.
15. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein at least one of the animal grooming devices comprises a plurality of stiff wires configured to function similarly to the wires of a slicker brush to snag hair.
16. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein at least one of the animal grooming devices comprises a plurality of pins configured to snag hair.
17. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein at least one of the animal grooming devices comprises a plurality of rubberized conical spikes, configured to function similarly to those used in common animal bathing brushes but for dry use to snag hair.
18. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein at least one of the animal grooming devices comprises a plurality of plasticized spikes, configured to function similarly to those used in common animal bathing devices but for dry use to snag hair.
19. The apparatus of claim 2, wherein the vacuum nozzle defines a vent on the hollow body for reducing suction at the mouth opening.
20. The apparatus of claim 19, further comprising a valve positioned to regulate airflow through the vent.
US16/004,411 2001-05-17 2018-06-10 Animal grooming tool Pending US20180288969A1 (en)

Priority Applications (7)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
US29176201P true 2001-05-17 2001-05-17
US10/147,802 US7159274B2 (en) 2001-05-17 2002-05-17 Vacuum grooming tool
US11/338,221 US8230819B2 (en) 2001-05-17 2006-01-23 Vacuum grooming tool
US12/190,865 US8429790B2 (en) 2001-05-17 2008-08-13 Vacuum grooming tool
US13/872,595 US8918955B2 (en) 2001-05-17 2013-04-29 Vacuum grooming tool
US14/584,081 US9992973B2 (en) 2001-05-17 2014-12-29 Vacuum grooming tool
US16/004,411 US20180288969A1 (en) 2001-05-17 2018-06-10 Animal grooming tool

Applications Claiming Priority (1)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
US16/004,411 US20180288969A1 (en) 2001-05-17 2018-06-10 Animal grooming tool

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US14/584,081 Continuation US9992973B2 (en) 2001-05-17 2014-12-29 Vacuum grooming tool

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US20180288969A1 true US20180288969A1 (en) 2018-10-11

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US10/147,802 Active 2022-11-27 US7159274B2 (en) 2001-05-17 2002-05-17 Vacuum grooming tool
US11/338,221 Active 2025-08-21 US8230819B2 (en) 2001-05-17 2006-01-23 Vacuum grooming tool
US12/190,865 Active 2022-10-27 US8429790B2 (en) 2001-05-17 2008-08-13 Vacuum grooming tool
US13/558,258 Abandoned US20120297571A1 (en) 2001-05-17 2012-07-25 Vacuum grooming tool cleaner
US13/558,214 Abandoned US20120285395A1 (en) 2001-05-17 2012-07-25 Vacuum grooming tool
US13/561,015 Abandoned US20120285393A1 (en) 2001-05-17 2012-07-28 Method for removing shedding hair from a pet animal
US13/561,016 Active US8732893B2 (en) 2001-05-17 2012-07-28 Method for removing hair from a hand-held grooming tool
US13/872,595 Active US8918955B2 (en) 2001-05-17 2013-04-29 Vacuum grooming tool
US14/584,081 Active 2023-08-23 US9992973B2 (en) 2001-05-17 2014-12-29 Vacuum grooming tool
US16/004,411 Pending US20180288969A1 (en) 2001-05-17 2018-06-10 Animal grooming tool

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US10/147,802 Active 2022-11-27 US7159274B2 (en) 2001-05-17 2002-05-17 Vacuum grooming tool
US11/338,221 Active 2025-08-21 US8230819B2 (en) 2001-05-17 2006-01-23 Vacuum grooming tool
US12/190,865 Active 2022-10-27 US8429790B2 (en) 2001-05-17 2008-08-13 Vacuum grooming tool
US13/558,258 Abandoned US20120297571A1 (en) 2001-05-17 2012-07-25 Vacuum grooming tool cleaner
US13/558,214 Abandoned US20120285395A1 (en) 2001-05-17 2012-07-25 Vacuum grooming tool
US13/561,015 Abandoned US20120285393A1 (en) 2001-05-17 2012-07-28 Method for removing shedding hair from a pet animal
US13/561,016 Active US8732893B2 (en) 2001-05-17 2012-07-28 Method for removing hair from a hand-held grooming tool
US13/872,595 Active US8918955B2 (en) 2001-05-17 2013-04-29 Vacuum grooming tool
US14/584,081 Active 2023-08-23 US9992973B2 (en) 2001-05-17 2014-12-29 Vacuum grooming tool

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US (10) US7159274B2 (en)
EP (2) EP1392108B1 (en)
AT (2) AT488993T (en)
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US8732893B2 (en) 2014-05-27
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US20120297571A1 (en) 2012-11-29
US20130319345A1 (en) 2013-12-05
US20120285395A1 (en) 2012-11-15
US8230819B2 (en) 2012-07-31
US20120285394A1 (en) 2012-11-15
US7159274B2 (en) 2007-01-09
US20150114307A1 (en) 2015-04-30
AT375714T (en) 2007-11-15
US20060118137A1 (en) 2006-06-08
US9992973B2 (en) 2018-06-12
EP1392108A2 (en) 2004-03-03
AT488993T (en) 2010-12-15
DE60223019T2 (en) 2008-07-24
EP1955590A2 (en) 2008-08-13
EP1955590A3 (en) 2008-11-26
US20090293225A1 (en) 2009-12-03
US20120285393A1 (en) 2012-11-15
WO2002091818A3 (en) 2003-04-03
EP1955590B1 (en) 2010-11-24
US8429790B2 (en) 2013-04-30
DE60223019D1 (en) 2007-11-29
WO2002091818A2 (en) 2002-11-21
EP1392108B1 (en) 2007-10-17
US20020189049A1 (en) 2002-12-19

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